Most of the talk about big data in government has been about crunching through existing data pools to spot trends that older tools weren’t powerful enough to identify.
Computer scientists are crawling the full database of Medicare claims, for example, to spot common fraud patterns before those claims are paid out. IBM’s Smarter Cities project is analyzing existing data from traffic sensors to build plans to ease congestion and reduce pollution.
The potential insights offered by deeper computer analysis have also prompted some agencies to begin new data gathering projects, though. Witness this special notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seeking a data coordinating center for information related to sudden death in people under 24 years old.
According to the notice:
Sudden death in the young (SDY) is a tragedy that affects children and young adults of all ages, making it a critical public health concern. Development of effective screening and prevention strategies is currently limited by the lack of prospectively defined epidemiological data, including incidence rates of specific causes of death (e.g., sudden cardiac death, sudden unexplained death in epilepsy). To address this knowledge gap, the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are developing a program to explore and provide greater understanding of SDY by developing a surveillance system and registry that will broaden and enhance the activities of CDC's Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) Case Registry. We expect many of the infant SDY cases to be a subset of the SUID cases.
The National Institutes for Health is cosponsoring the project.