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November-December 2020 - Volume 65 - Issue 6

  • Eric Ford, PhD, MPH
  • 1096-9012
  • 1944-7396
  • 6 issues per year
  • 0.900

From the November/December Issue...

At last, 2020 comes to an end. My best wishes to you and yours during the festive season. Here’s hoping that 2021 brings a return to something akin to normal. With that thought in mind, I will turn my attention to something less socially charged than responses to the COVID-19 pandemic or Black Lives Matter—topics addressed in past editorials. For a holiday treat, I look forward to digging in to new research topics. (Expectations management disclosure: I expect to receive socks and underwear as gifts.)

“Data, data everywhere, and not a drop of information to act on” is one of my favorite sayings. Note the difference I am drawing between “data” and “information.” Data is a raw material that cannot be readily applied, whereas information has some utility in decision-making. Administrators, regulators, and researchers routinely ask clinicians and staff to collect all manner of data points that have little or no bearing on what they need to practice. Moreover, saying that “we need the data” to “pay the bills,” “keep our accreditation,” or “make the world a better place through science” rings hollow, as those outcomes are difficult to link to the extra work being demanded. Simply put, those who govern data collection and how it is then used need to do a better job. To that end, a new healthcare professional has emerged: the chief research information officer (CRIO).

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