All the talk about transparency in healthcare will eventually make a difference. Much current focus is on price, because we know how to measure it. Quality is harder because we don’t have enough randomized trials to prove what really works and because data in our healthcare system is still a mess. This will improve, especially as we learn to analyze big data to answer questions in a more scalable (if much less perfect) way than randomized trials can.
In the meantime, let’s not forget that data can teach us what questions we should be asking in the first place. At home, we mused about this while enjoying our new composting bin in the kitchen. It has an accidental transparency feature, which lets us observe what we’ve been eating, and ask questions like… Which are the healthiest fruits? What food don’t we put into the compost bin (what data aren’t we measuring)? How can the beauty of this data inspire us?