Up at 5AM: The 5AM Solutions Blog

Better EMRs Can Make Big Data More Relevant

Posted on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 @ 03:00 PM

Is healthcare technology good enough? Robert M. Wachter, M.D., Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF says no. Or at least not most of it yet. He claims that most of the electronic medical records systems used in hospitals are so bad, that some physicians seeking new positions think that not having an EMR system is a perk.

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Tags: health IT, EMR, Big Data

5AM Solutions CSO Will FitzHugh Wins Executive Management Award

Posted on Tue, Mar 10, 2015 @ 03:00 PM

Last night, 5AM Solutions' Chief Science Officer Will FitzHugh was among the honorees at SmartCEO magazine's Washington Executive Management Awards. If you haven't worked with him directly, you might know Will from this blog. Most recently, he was the author of the Map of Biomedicine series (stay tuned for an upcoming ebook...) and he has also written about newborn screening and big data.

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Tags: Big Data, map of biomedicine, 5AM, newborn screening

Is DNA the Key to Preventing a Digital Dark Age?

Posted on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 @ 03:00 PM

The image accompanying this post is of the Phaistos Disk. It was created in about 2000 BCE in Crete. Its front and back surfaces are covered with nearly perfectly preserved etchings, but we don't have much of a clue about what it all means. Why does this matter? It matters because the photos, data, research, and other information that matters to us today barely has a chance of lasting 2 decades, much less 2 millennia. 

Experts, including Vint Cerf who is widely credited as the "father of the internet" and who is now Google's Vice President and Chief Evangelist, believe that much of the information that distinguishes the 21st century is at risk of being lost to future generations. A gaping chasm in humankind's understanding of our era could be called a digital dark age. 

So how would this happen?

The 21st century could become a victim of its own remarkable technological advancement. We've made tremendous progess in data storage over the past few decades. The smartphone in your pocket, for instance, holds far more data than did PCs from even a decade ago, and the price of that storage has fallen dramatically. However, the ability to hold onto that data for -- in optimal cases -- more than twenty years is incredibly rare, and even when the data is pristine, it's not always easy to make sense of it. If you've stumbled upon a cache of floppy disks recently, it is unlikely that your current computer can do anything with them. 

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Tags: Big Data, DNA, health data

Big Data: Friend or Foe?

Posted on Thu, Feb 12, 2015 @ 03:55 PM

Despite a much-covered data hack on health insurer Anthem, the answer to the title question is "friend", though we're still navigating the early, halcyon days of the relationship. 

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Tags: Big Data

Researchers Uncover 8 Genes That Build Your Brain

Posted on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 @ 03:29 PM

In terms of our brains, size matters. In the animal kingdom, humans are somewhat remarkable for our brain to body size ratio. A paper published in Nature points to a genetic basis for the size of some of the structures that make up our brains and that influence diverse functions from being able to ride a bike without thinking about it to remembering your route to work. 

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Tags: research, Big Data

Big Data and the (Near) Future of Genomics

Posted on Tue, Nov 11, 2014 @ 03:00 PM

At ASHG 2014, I had the pleasure of listening to the talks of Ajay Royyuru from IBM’s Computational Biology Center, and David Glazer from Google, during the ‘Separating Signal from Noise’ symposium.

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Tags: clinical trials, Big Data, Genomics

A Few More Thoughts on Big Data

Posted on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 @ 04:16 PM

On Tuesday, Will FitzHugh blogged his thoughts about the big data conference that he attended last week, and in the post, he noted that "[a]s data sets grow, deriving useful knowledge from them becomes harder. This might seem counterintuitive, since scientific research often involves adding more data to be able to draw conclusions confidently."

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Tags: Big Data, DNA sequencing, genome

Thoughts on Big Data

Posted on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 @ 03:00 PM

Last week, I attended a  conference that focused on the big data needs of the pharmaceutical and biomedical industries. “Big data” -- like cloud computing or bioinformatics --  is one of those buzzwords that can be hard to define clearly. There’s confusion when people talk about it because they’re not always talking about the same thing.

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Tags: Big Data

The Father of Biomedical Informatics

Posted on Tue, Oct 07, 2014 @ 03:00 PM

About 50 years before many of us began obsessively tracking our sleep, diets, and exercise habits on tiny,wearable devices, the medical director at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland,California began packing up his family to move to San Diego where he was going to launch a new program for Kaiser. With his house on the market, his family ready to go, and a newly appointed director in Oakland, Kaiser switched gears.

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Tags: Big Data, biomedical informatics, health data

EMR Data + Clinical Trials = 21st Century Cures

Posted on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 @ 02:31 PM

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Health held a hearing entitled "21st Century Cures: Modernizing Clinical Trials" last week.

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Tags: EHR, electronic health records, electronic medical records, EMR, clinical trials, Big Data

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