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Using “Big Data” to find the “Binders of Women”

October 25, 2012

Ever since Governor Romney mentioned the existence of “Binders of Women” the search has been on to find them. This is a complex problem and a time sensitive problem. I’ve been following the issue closely because no one really knows how long women can survive in binders.  The clock is ticking…

I am happy to report that our friends at, the geo-mapping website, have found someone who has the answer. Montse Compa, a Humboldt State University student has used “Big Data” to solve the problem. The graphic depiction to the right clearly shows where all the binders are and where all the women are in the U.S.. No where do we see binders and women together. Mystery solved! There are no women in binders!!

Now that we have that issue out of the way, let’s talk about “Big Data” in healthcare. According to the Cleveland Clinic “It is estimated that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created daily, so much that 90% of the data in the world has been created in the last two years. This is what’s called “Big Data”, and hospitals, medical centers, hospital systems…are awash in it.” And that includes workforce data. Think about the potential to answer critical quality and cost questions by combining workforce data and clinical data. Mining “Big Data” will bring to light the answers to issues of quality and cost that we so desperately need. The future is somewhere hidden in “Big Data”.

Here is one example of the power of “Big Data”. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded research that has correlated nurse staffing to readmission rates in acute care settings. Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) team at Marquette University has found that hospitals with more registered nurses working on a unit and fewer R.N. overtime hours have lower rates of patient readmission and fewer post-discharge visits to the emergency department.

This is just the beginning. It is imperative that we begin to bring all the data together – clinical and workforce data – and let the answers emerge.

What do you know in your heart about workforce issues that impact clinical outcomes that just needs data to be substantiated?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Eugene Barlaz permalink
    October 26, 2012 1:57 PM

    I will reply in two parts, first one is not really looking for binders of women, but in truth where educated, accomplished women arer located, and who have a sense of duty, would they give up a career for government service and would they do so on behalf of one of our current Presidential Candidates. As I have been in the GIS industry for about 25 years I can tell you that first I would use a real GIS, one that applies itself to segmentation of data and one that can easily attach to all forms of databases. My choice for non-governmental applications is Geomedia, though there are others such as Mapinfo that have been used for these applications for about 20 years. The data is out there, LinkedIn could share some of the data that they have, combined with college graduate data from across the country and employment data a true map, possibly by zipcode could be generated once one had funds to do so. On the topic of Big Data, anyone who has been applying GIS to database marketing, segmentation, strategic planning and yes, healthcare, knows what big data really means, how to process it and most importantly how to make it available to the experts trained in the field. I would happy to answer questions on specifics but these are not new concepts, just concepts that are entering the mainstream as more online applications become available.

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