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Small Data approaches provide nuance and context to health datasets

September 12, 2019 / Malaysia Sun

The trend of tracking health and well-being using digital technologies has permeated mainstream culture. The real-time monitoring capabilities, interactive decision-support algorithms and diagnostic testing features of digital health devices have drawn the interest of users everywhere, including the Global South. Applying tools such as predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics has benefited businesses such as insurance companies and health-care providers. It has also led to unequal treatment and discrimination of individuals as consumers and recipients of health-care services, and to ill-advised decision making by clinicians and policy makers. Our research, which was undertaken with participants largely from North America, has investigated attitudes towards the sharing of personal health data with various stakeholders within the wider health sector. It also explores alternative data approaches which could mitigate marginalization and exclusion.