Dr. DeSalvo: Big data essential for population health

National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, emphasized the importance of big data in improving population health in a recent Q&A with The Nation's Health.

The population health software market has received significant attention in recent years. The market is expected to top $40.6 billion by 2018, and among large hospitals, executives are dedicating a significant part of their budget to purchase population health software. With the approach of meaningful use stage 3, which is expected to focus on improving patient outcomes, population health will play an important role.

Dr. DeSalvo said in the report that big data plays a key role in more closely tracking healthcare spending as it related to care and improving quality of care by analyzing population data to be as efficient as possible.

"Use the example of cardiovascular disease: You can certainly use somebody's health data to make their care better and improve their health in partnership with them," Dr. DeSalvo told The Nation's Health. "On the other hand, if you have a broader view of the population's health in a community, it will help you really prioritize which of the cardiac risk factors matter."

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