Big Data Neglects Populations Most in Need of Medical and Public Health Research and Interventions

Big Data, Health Law, and Bioethics (H.F. Lynch, I.G. Cohen, & U. Gasser eds.,), Forthcoming

Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 16-26

28 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2016

See all articles by Sarah Malanga

Sarah Malanga

University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law, Students

Jonathan Loe

University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law, Students

Christopher T. Robertson

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law; Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics

Kenneth Ramos

University of Arizona

Date Written: August 18, 2016

Abstract

Big data should be extremely useful to medical and public health professionals attempting to engage in research, intervention, and precision medicine. The use of big data in these areas, however, has the potential to ignore a large portion of the population, because the sources of much of the data – social media, wearables, electronic health records, and insurance claims – are not utilized by that subset. These omitted populations, such as minorities and low-income individuals, are at a greater risk for health disparities and are the very populations that could most benefit from research and intervention. This paper argues that the scope of big data and the subsequent health uses of the information gathered needs to be broadened to increase the diversity of the data, especially by including those most vulnerable to diminished health outcomes. Building on existing government measures such as the Lifeline program to provide internet access to the underprivileged and NHS guidelines for the inclusion of minorities in research, we propose monetary, programmatic, and regulatory recommendations as means of addressing, and ultimately remedying, this problem.

Keywords: Big Data, Precision Medicine, Health, Poverty, Race, Health Disparities, Interventions

Suggested Citation

Malanga, Sarah and Loe, Jonathan and Robertson, Christopher T. and Ramos, Kenneth, Big Data Neglects Populations Most in Need of Medical and Public Health Research and Interventions (August 18, 2016). Big Data, Health Law, and Bioethics (H.F. Lynch, I.G. Cohen, & U. Gasser eds.,), Forthcoming; Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 16-26. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2828954

Sarah Malanga

University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law, Students

Tucson, AZ
United States

Jonathan Loe

University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law, Students

Tucson, AZ
United States

Christopher T. Robertson (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.arizona.edu/faculty/getprofile.cfm?facultyid=714

Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics ( email )

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02155
United States

Kenneth Ramos

University of Arizona ( email )

Department of History
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States

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