Diagnosing Barriers to the Realization of the Promises of Big Clinical Data: An Evaluation of Clarity in Health Data Collaborations


  • Sara Jordan


What are the known techniques to reduce barriers to the realization of the Big Data revolution in healthcare? The “Big Data Revolution” is supposed to bring new and transformative, verifiable, and high-velocity insights that will radically reshape the decisions we make. This promise echoes through multiple Big Data initiatives, but it takes on significant ethical importance in the realm of healthcare—if we “get Big Data right,” we stand to save and improve countless lives. In this paper, I argue that what stands in the way of the Big Data revolution in healthcare is effective collaboration. I posit here that it is likely that we will be waiting for the Big Clinical Data revolution for the unexciting, mundane, reason that we have not yet solved the problem of cooperation across organizations to the point that all data could be used by all actors freely and equally to solve agreed upon problems. I analyze data management plans of five large Big Clinical Data cooperatives in order to evaluate how clear collaborative data architecture can be designed to improve Big Clinical Data collaboration.

Author Biography

Sara Jordan

Assistant Professor, Center for Public Administration & Policy, Virginia Tech.