We collect huge amounts of data. In health, this includes data relating to inpatient and outpatient care, mental health services, prescribing and primary care.
Big data is when the amount of these data sets we have accumulated become so large and complex to analyse in traditional ways. The challenge then is to find ways of collecting, storing and linking these data in order for researchers to gain new insights, such as determining the causes of a disease or spotting health associations we hadn’t seen before. We can also then find practical applications for these.