Big data and visual analytics in anaesthesia and health care

Br J Anaesth. 2015 Sep;115(3):350-6. doi: 10.1093/bja/aeu552. Epub 2015 Jan 26.


Advances in computer technology, patient monitoring systems, and electronic health record systems have enabled rapid accumulation of patient data in electronic form (i.e. big data). Organizations such as the Anesthesia Quality Institute and Multicenter Perioperative Outcomes Group have spearheaded large-scale efforts to collect anaesthesia big data for outcomes research and quality improvement. Analytics--the systematic use of data combined with quantitative and qualitative analysis to make decisions--can be applied to big data for quality and performance improvements, such as predictive risk assessment, clinical decision support, and resource management. Visual analytics is the science of analytical reasoning facilitated by interactive visual interfaces, and it can facilitate performance of cognitive activities involving big data. Ongoing integration of big data and analytics within anaesthesia and health care will increase demand for anaesthesia professionals who are well versed in both the medical and the information sciences.

Keywords: decision support systems, clinical; electronic health records; integrated advanced information management systems; medical informatics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia / statistics & numerical data
  • Anesthesiology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Electronic Health Records / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics / statistics & numerical data*