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Nutrition Informatics Blog

"Are we there yet?"-A fun look at Big Data

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“Are we there yet?” –that phrase conjures up childhood memories of sitting in the back seat of a station wagon, with –yes, no seat belt (!),sliding into the floor when my dad put on the brakes a bit too abruptly, yet still urgently waiting for  him to tell us—“we have arrived!”    I, like most kids, struggled with patience as a child.  While a lot has changed over the years (thankfully—seatbelts) I still struggle with patience as an adult, only it extends to far more important issues than quick car rides or vacations. 

My impatience has moved to a different topic, but the question has not changed—“Are we there yet?”  Can we declare a tipping point in the development of conditions which we seem capable of preventing?   Is there a breaking point on health care costs?  Having recently compiled comments for Stage 2 Meaningful Use (the EHR incentive program for Medicare/Medicaid providers), I struggled with how much Obesity, for example cost our country every year.  If you include lost time from work, disability payments, medical care, decreased mobility, co-morbidities….the list seemed endless.  At some point, I became frustrated with the thought of –what difference does it make if all the costs are “unsustainable”—meaning that health care costs at some point will bankrupt our country.  By now it’s old news that the US spends more than any other country—yet quality fails to follow the dollar. 

The ability to manage “big data” allows us to present facts in a different way, using different mediums and fine-tune it to location and/or condition.  So, I ask again, are we there yet?  Can presenting the facts on health and health care in a different way nudge us to act differently, stay healthier and spend less?

Take a look at this presentations and let me know what you think! (Hint: There is a search field so you can locate nutrition related diseases.)

“We must focus on preventing disease if we want our nation to thrive!”


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