Indiana University
Sharing healthcare data not as easy as it sounds

To the editor: The article on Big Data's potential to improve healthcare overlooks a fundamental problem: Many of the institutions that hold our most valuable health data are reluctant to share them with one another. ("Big data, meet big money: NIH funds centers to crunch health data," Oct. 9) In the course of conducting an academic study of Big Data in the healthcare industry over the past year, I interviewed researchers, doctors and entrepreneurs who described this problem in starkly simple terms: Big Data's potential to improve human health requires the large-scale aggregation of medical data, they explained, but individual data holders face powerful disincentives to...