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An Emerging Era of Big Data (in Mental Health too)

We just came accross an excellent article by Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), titled An Emerging Era of Big Data. The article is brief and worth reading. Here are two quotes:

– “Every era has its technological icons. In the early 20th century, it was the airplane and the automobile. In the mid-20th century, it was the television and the telephone. Now in the early 21st century, the smart phone and social networking appear to be the defining technologies. And increasingly, the current era is beginning to look like the era of “big data” — a term that refers to the explosion of available information, a byproduct of the digital revolution.”

– “The mental health community has been slower to join this revolution, but this could change. It just requires a passion to share information, a capacity to develop data repositories, and a vision for turning individual data into collective knowledge. We have some unique challenges in the mental health community: lack of a central organization, inconsistent quality of information, and in some cases, a denial of illness. But — as we are seeing in areas as diverse as robotics and baseball — big data has a way of overcoming big challenges. In fact, big data may be the solution for a field that has been lacking in metrics of performance or success.”

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