Diabetes care editors' expert forum 2018: Managing big data for diabetes research and care
Riddle MC., Blonde L., Gerstein HC., Gregg EW., Holman RR., Lachin JM., Nichols GA., Turchin A., Cefalu WT.
© 2019 by the American Diabetes Association. Technological progress in the past half century has greatly increased our ability to collect, store, and transmit vast quantities of information, giving rise to the term "big data." This term refers to very large data sets that can be analyzed to identify patterns, trends, and associations. In medicinedincluding diabetes care and researchdbig data come from three main sources: electronic medical records (EMRs), surveys and registries, and randomized controlled trials (RCTs). These systems have evolved in different ways, each with strengths and limitations. EMRs continuously accumulate information about patients and make it readily accessible but are limited by missing data or data that are not quality assured. Because EMRs vary in structure and management, comparisons of data between health systems may be difficult. Registries and surveys provide data that are consistently collected andrepresentativeof broadpopulationsbutare limited in scopeandmaybeupdated only intermittently. RCT databases excel in the specificity, completeness, and accuracy of their data, but rarely include a fully representative sample of the general population. Also, they are costly to build and seldommaintained after a trial's end. To consider these issues, and the challenges andopportunities they present, the editors of Diabetes Care convened a group of experts in management of diabetesrelated data on 21 June 2018, in conjunction with the American Diabetes Association's 78th Scientific Sessions in Orlando, FL. This article summarizes the discussion and conclusions of that forum, offering a vision of benefits that might be realized from prospectively designed and unified data-management systems to support the collective needs of clinical, surveillance, and research activities related to diabetes.