From Notations to Data: The Digital Transformation of Clinical Research
The history of clinical research precedes the advent of computing, though informatics concepts have long played important roles. The advent of digital signal processing in physiologic measurements tightened the coupling to computation for clinical research. The astronomical growth of computational capacity over the past 60 years has contributed to the scope and intensity of clinical analytics, for research and practice. Correspondingly, this rise in computation power has made possible clinical protocol designs and analytic strategy that were previously infeasible. The factors have driven biological science and clinical research into the big science era, replete with a corresponding increase of intertwined data resources, knowledge, and reasoning capacity. These changes usher in a social transformation of clinical research and highlight the importance of comparable and consistent data enabled by modern health information data standards and ontologies.