The information explosion – and how to harness it

The time taken to translate biomedical research into clinical practise remains too long. The volume of research in biomedical science is ever increasing. We may soon reach a point where no individual can hope to process all the information available into effective healthcare strategies.

By 2008, there were 18 million research papers in biomedical science literature, and it is expected that the amount of papers published this year will exceed 1million.

This vast body of information must be harnessed in order to maximise patient wellbeing. In 2008, the average time for translation of research into clinical practice was 17 years. This may be seen asa reflection of the difficulty in integrating biomedical research – in finding r oom for new data – and having a flexible knowledge framework that is most suited for knowledge absorption.

However, as this information transfer speeds up, the challenges facing healthcare professionals also increase. The days when “a physician might have reasonably expected to know everything in the field of medicine” have long passed, and yet specialisation and sub-specialisation can only buy time. In fact, the increasingly fractured implementation of healthcare can pose its own problems, as treatment focuses on more and more isolated targets and less and less on whole patients.

The key to the future transfer of scientific knowledge will be in managing and integrating information from increasingly varied sources. As we start to discuss systems for relating and
describing the quality of data and information, and as we build ever more realistic predictive models, this knowledge transfer will become more efficient. In this future, instead of being inundated with information, which needs to be analysed, judged, adapted and implemented, clinicians could be presented with robust, systematically-generated knowledge already tailored for clinical implementation.

For more information refer to:

The Healthcare Singularity and the Age of Semantic Medicine, The Fourth Paradigm 2009.

http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/collaboration/fourthparadigm/4th_paradigm_book_part2_gillam.pdf



Date: 20/05/2013 | Tag: | News: 12 of 599
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