Data Tells a Story: health care by the numbers; diversity in language; some real cash cows


We at Inform believe that data tells a story, across all industries, and every week we’ll be rounding up the most interesting ones right here. This week: health care by the numbers; diversity in language; and some real cash cows.

Medical Students Crunch Big Data To Spot Health Trends

Big data is changing the way medicine is being practiced and the way medical students are learning.

As the result of the rise of evidence-based medicine, future doctors must learn how to manipulate and analyze sometimes huge amounts of data. At the NYU School of Medicine, first and second year med students are required to do a “health care by the numbers” project based on a database with over five million anonymous patient records. Included are the patients’ race and ethnicity, zip codes, diagnosis, procedures, and payments.

The students’ findings have been interesting. One student, in comparing the prices of a hip replacement surgeries through New York state with the cost of Big Whoppers, found that the cost of the surgery was even more inconsistent than that of the fast food. Another student came to similar findings regarding the cost of cesarean sections.

Neuropolitics, Where Campaigns Try to Read Your Mind

Some political candidates have taken a page from neuromarketing and are using technologies such as facial coding, biofeedback, and brain imaging to gather data on potential voters, and are using that data to hone their campaigns.

For instance, the current president of Mexico used tools “to measure voters’ brain waves, skin arousal, heart rates and facial expressions,” while in Turkey, the prime minister hired a neuromarketing company that found via tracking brain waves, facial expressions, and heart rates that the PM’s speeches lacked emotional engagement.

How ING Direct is boosting customer loyalty using data analytics

ING Direct is boosting retention by rewarding customers for their loyalty. However, the rewards aren’t generic. Using a combination of data analytics, insights, and communication, the company has devised contextually relevant offers targeted at specific customer segments, creating even more meaningful customer experiences.

Americans Speak Over 350 Languages At Home, Census Data Shows

The findings from the American Community Survey from 2009 to 2013 show the vast variety of languages in the U.S.: over 60 million Americans speak a language other than English at home.

Spanish is the most common with 37 million people, with more than half of those having learned English. On the other hand, only 40 percent of Vietnamese and Chinese speakers said they spoke English “very well.”

The survey’s data also showed, perhaps not surprisingly, that the biggest U.S. cities are also “the most linguistically diverse,” with 192 languages spoken in New York and more than half of L.A. residents speaking a second language. Also well-represented are speakers of Native American dialects with 150, including Navajo, Apache, and Cherokee.

How RFID Delivers Big Data On Cows And Milk Production

You might have heard of precision agriculture. Now there’s precision dairy farming.

Farmers in India are using data collected by RFID tags to track various aspects of their cows, including nutritional levels, how much they’re eating, and signs of disease, all with the bigger goal of increasing milk production and reducing the number of cows, which in turns improves the environment by cutting down on the amount of methane produced.

A challenge these farmers face is taking the time to analyze the scores of data. So if you’re a data engineer who has always wanted to live on farm in India, there’s probably a job for you.

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