Getting Started with Big Data: The Promises and Challenges of Evaluating Health-Care Quality
This chapter describes an approach that is being developed to get started using the Big Data, frequently designed for other purposes. It explores the use of Big Data to address a specific evaluative question. The data sets that were identified came from more traditional sources such as statistical agencies. One of the approaches traditionally relied on in Canada and many other countries to support quality care is health-care accreditation. The experimental design is the dominant paradigm, but others in the research tradition have argued for the use of quasi-experimental design and using a priori knowledge and theory to build evaluation models. The challenge for the evaluator is how to make use of these new data sources in ways that differ from their past practices. The meta-analysis of past studies attempts to generalize across different methodologies with highly varied research contexts. It has proven difficult to empirically demonstrate the effectiveness of accreditation of acute care institutions.