Last week I attended Harrisburg University's Data Analytics Summit. Many of the presentations were quite technical, but the gist was that big data is being utilized in many different areas, including health care, agriculture, legislative advocacy  and business. The most useful innovations come not from selective collection of data in pre-defined parameters, but through examining unstructured  existing data across a wide range and detecting patterns.

It's kind of like what we mental health professionals do with information from our clients, but on a much bigger scale and in much greater detail that requires advanced statistical methods and procedures.

A few highlights:

Amanda Dawson, Ph.D.: The Role of Unstructured Data in Healthcare Analytics

Dr. Dawson described how data driven research in healthcare facilities can be applied to clinical decisions with specific patients. For example, she cited a project that identified parameters that put a patient at risk for falling. They found that the probability of falling increases significantly after a change in a patient's medication - which would make it important for nurses to check on such patients more frequently.


James Pennebaker, Ph.D.: Mind Mapping: Using Everyday Language to Explore Social & Psychological Processes

Dr. Pennebaker, a social psychologist, described how pronouns, articles, prepositions and other incidental words can predict people's perceptions and behaviors. Some of his findings about gender differences might surprise you.


Using Data Analytics to Garner an Understanding of Brilliance in Hollywood

How likely is it that so many celebrities reportedly have genius IQs? 'Try not to wince when the presenter mispronounces "Binet" and "Wechsler."


Other presentations:

  • Leveraging Unstructured Data & big Data to Enhance the Quality of Life of Children
  • Transforming Legislative Advocacy With Big Data
  • Analytics, Nudges and Habits, Transforming the World Around Us

The above and more can be viewed here.