Why leveraging big data represents a paradigm shift in healthcare

The term "paradigm shift" is bandied about far too often in books and articles about healthcare.Thomas Kuhn in his classic book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" coined the term to describe a change in the basic assumptions within the rules of science.

Kuhn and his paradigm shift came to mind recently after I finished two books that truly stunned me: "Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World" by Christopher Steiner (2012) and "Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think" by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier (2013).

As a practicing pathologist and medical school professor, the paradigm I followed for years was to generate hypotheses that would affect treatment, prognosis and classification of diseases.

These two books convincingly make the claim that big data and algorithms turn my beloved paradigm on its head. Rejecting the biomedical model that concentrates on finding the cause of disease and assuming the disease world can be truly understood by scientific experiments, this new approach goes after correlations, not causality. >> Read the full Hospital Impact post


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