Big Data Computing in Healthcare: Opportunities, Obstacles, and Outputs

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Join us for a talk on Big Data Computing in healthcare.

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Associate Professor Clare Bankhead, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford


19:30 - Webinar starts

21:00 - Webinar ends


At every healthcare encounter in the UK, data are collected and stored in electronic healthcare records. We have access to thousands of observations on millions of people over decades of years. There is potential to link data from general practice records with hospital records (outpatients, accident and emergency and inpatient hospital stays) and other sources, such as cancer and death registrations.

This raises the opportunity to harness the power and granularity of these data for medical research and ultimately improve clinical care and health outcomes. The use of these resources has altered the scope, and the speed, of the epidemiology that may be conducted. Novel analytics, including the application of artificial intelligence, are increasing. The combination of the availability of data and the techniques are rapidly advancing our knowledge.

However, the use of these data also presents some obstacles. We must remember that this information is not collected for medical research purposes. It is not collected in a standardised way, is not available at regular time intervals, nor from everyone and is largely based on coded medical information. Wrangling these records into an analysable form is a specialist task.

Furthermore, the Government’s initiative to introduce a daily download of our medical data (separate from the currently available research data) may increase opt-outs. Other considerations include the sheer volume of these data, leading to computational and statistical implications.

Clare will illustrate this talk with examples of the research conducted using routinely collected healthcare data, including studies of rare diseases, understanding disease risk factors, clinical prediction rules, and monitoring of drug and vaccine effectiveness and side effects. Mention will also be made about how research findings have been used and integrated into clinical care.


Clare Bankhead is an Associate Professor in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, and Kellogg College Fellow. She is a senior epidemiologist with a special interest in research design and statistics. Her main research focuses are on the use of large routine databases and digital health in medical research. Research areas include health service utilization, diagnosis and monitoring of chronic diseases, and cancer diagnosis.

Our events are for adults aged 16 years and over.


BCS Oxfordshire Branch


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