A review of Big Data analytics and potential for implementation in the delivery of global neurosurgery

Neurosurg Focus. 2018 Oct;45(4):E16. doi: 10.3171/2018.7.FOCUS18278.


Global access to neurosurgical care is still a work in progress, with many patients in low-income countries not able to access potentially lifesaving neurosurgical procedures. "Big Data" is an increasingly popular data collection and analytical technique predicated on collecting large amounts of data across multiple data sources and types for future analysis. The potential applications of Big Data to global outreach neurosurgery are myriad: from assessing the overall burden of neurosurgical disease to planning cost-effective improvements in access to neurosurgical care, and collecting data on conditions which are rare in developed countries. Although some global neurosurgical outreach programs have intelligently implemented Big Data principles in their global neurosurgery initiatives already, there is still significant progress that remains to be made. Big Data has the potential to drive the efficient improvement of access to neurosurgical care across low- and medium-income countries.

Keywords: Big Data; HIC = high-income country; LIC = low-income country; TBI = traumatic brain injury; data science; epidemiology; global neurosurgery; global outreach neurosurgery; low-income country; public health.

MeSH terms

  • Big Data*
  • Developing Countries
  • Global Health*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Neurosurgery
  • Neurosurgical Procedures*