According to Sharon Begley in a July 2011 Scientific American article titled “The Best Medicine”, Kaiser Permanente can do research studies of data from 8.6 million patients and the VA can do studies on 6 million patients. Â Other health care provider organizations are coming together to do research, such as the consortium that includes Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic and four other provider organizations with 10 million records. Â A Health Data Cloud in which all health information is stored in one place, the Internet, for easy access by all health researchers, not just those at these particularly large institutions or consortiums, would not only have data from 24.6 million patients from Kaiser Permanente, the VA, and the Cleveland Clinic-Mayo Clinic consortium, it would have records from 100′s of millions of others. Â Only in this context could clinical decision support systems be designed to really ask the question: What is the best treatment for each individual, unique patient.
To give this patient the best advice, his doctor needs to be able to know how others like this patient have been advised and how they have fared as a result. Â Maximizing the number of patients that doctor can find who are like this particular patient, with similar blood pressure, blood test results, medical history, compliance likelihood (based on various environmental factors like education, values, etc.) and other similar attributes that effect health requires maximizing the number of patients to whom the provider can compare his patient.