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Region 5 Blog December 3rd, 2021
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Oct

25

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DataFlash: What is Health Data Literacy and “Data Literacy for the Busy Librarian”

Posted by on October 25th, 2021 Posted in: Blog, Data Science, Training & Education
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A face with numbers dropping down in front of the eyesBig Data is a buzzword in many industries these days including healthcare.  What is data literacy and how does it apply and impact healthcare?  According to MIT and Dalhousie University, data literacy is the ability to collect, manage, evaluate, and apply data in a critical manner.  Though, most individuals didn’t go to school to be data scientists, statisticians, computer scientists etc.  In fact, most people do not consider themselves to be data literate.

In the healthcare field where we are bombarded with all kinds of data, – laboratory and test results, vitals, costs, patient EHRs, and much more – it is absolutely important for the healthcare industry to maximize its usage of this critical data for the betterment of the healthcare field as a whole.  How do we solve data illiteracy? The key is to understand that organizations and individuals need to actively buy in and embrace the data revolution, especially leadership which can help set the standard for the culture of the organization to make good use of data. At the individual level, people need to be honest with oneself and address one’s own weaknesses and fill in the knowledge gaps they have for data literacy – i.e., the ability to read, work with, analyze, and argue with data.  Once, individuals can understand their data literacy weaknesses, then, they can begin to understand how they can improve their respective data skillsets.

In February of 2022, the NNLM Region 5 will be offering a course on data literacy called “Data Literacy for the Busy Librarian”.  This 2-week Moodle course is designed for the beginner and the busier librarian in mind who has an interest in improving their data literacy skillset.  Registration for “Data Literacy for the Busy Librarian” is open now.

Image of the author ABOUT Nancy Shin
I received my Bachelor of Science in the Integrated Sciences majoring in medical genetics and animal biology from the University of British Columbia (UBC). I also graduated from UBC's esteemed MLIS program with a focus on health librarianship. In 2018, I was the Research Data Management Sewell Fund Fellow for the Technology Incubator at Washington State University. Currently, I'm the NNLM Region 5's Outreach and Data Coordinator for the University of Washington's Health Sciences Library. In my spare time, I enjoy photography, drawing, cooking and baking, and travelling the world!!!

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Developed resources reported in this program are supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH) under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012343 with the University of Washington.

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