The future directions of health intelligence

Alison Hill*, Julian Flowers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter looks at the changing landscape of public health intelligence. It explores the concept of knowledge as an active social process, which adds value and achieves better health outcomes. Rapid developments in digital technology have opened horizons not envisaged 10 years ago. We look at the emergence of big data and its associated new discipline of data science, and consider the new data frontiers that will drive changes in health intelligence. We discuss the limits of traditional hypothesis testing and empirical research, and explore the emerging public health research paradigm. We look at the concept of knowledge management, and the global, national and local systems that are required for public health professionals to undertake their roles effectively and efficiently. Skills development goes hand in hand with these changes, and we discuss developments in health literacy, and the future public health knowledge workforce. The next decade will be one where the most significant developments will be in human systems and the human interface with technology, creating the cultural changes that will ensure delivery of the right knowledge to the right people at the right time. After reading this chapter, you should be able to: • Describe the nature of big data, the new data sources that are becoming available, and the challenges and opportunities that big data creates. • Explain the emerging public health research paradigm, and the reasons why traditional empirical research is no longer appropriate for addressing complex public health interventions. • Describe the concept of knowledge management, and the systems that are required to ensure that public health professionals can access the right knowledge at the right time.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPublic Health Intelligence
Subtitle of host publicationIssues of Measure and Method
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783319283265
ISBN (Print)9783319283241
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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