Healthcare: Data and Decision Making

Beginning in 2009, the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, one the first healthcare projects we funded, gathered data from various sources and analyzed it in innovative ways. They found that a very small number of patients accounted for a very large proportion of Camden’s healthcare costs. This insight radically changed their approach to service delivery for these high users of healthcare. 

The Camden Coalition’s analysis helped confirm our thinking that careful and informed interpretation and use of data can play a key role in improving the delivery of healthcare services. The projects we fund explore better ways to organize, analyze, and share data to guide healthcare decision making. For example, we have supported:

New Jersey communities (in blue) included in Rutgers CSHP's analyses of avoidable hospital costs

Big Data

We’re also exploring Big Data, one of the most exciting new developments in healthcare. In the simplest sense, the term “Big Data” refers to the use of extraordinarily large, diverse, and complex data sets that, because of advances in technology and analytic techniques, are now accessible and combinable. But in a deeper sense, it refers to a fundamental shift in how we use data to give us insight. It moves beyond postulating cause and effect and allows patterns and correlations to emerge from the data that can shed new light on complex questions.  

In conjunction with the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, we sponsored a conference on Big Data and Health. The meeting brought together national experts, local thought leaders, and key stakeholders to discuss ways Big Data techniques are being used and their potential for improving healthcare in New Jersey. We also sponsored a series of webinars exploring additional aspects of Big Data and health in New Jersey.

Visit our Projects page to learn more about The Nicholson Foundation’s funded projects.