Data can help identify countless risk factors and warning signs, reduce patient readmission and lower costs and stress for patients, employers and providers alike. (Photo: Shutterstock)

We hear a lot about how “big data” is changing the world these days, whether it’s in conversations about sports, political campaigns social media or business.

In the world of health care, we often hear about data in relation to the prevention of infections, improving clinical outcomes, medical fraud detection, or the prevention of large-scale data breaches. Sure, an enormous trove of data can lead to interesting statistics, systemic improvements and big picture conclusions, yet more data doesn’t always lead to better outcomes for individuals.

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