Report Zorg & ICT: “Big Data for Small Babies”


‘Zorg & ICT’ is a yearly three-day congress for the latest information, visible innovation and inspiration in the health sector. On the last day, Thursday 19 April 2018 at 10:00 AM, Daniel Vijlbrief (neonatologist and pediatrician at UMC Utrecht) and Tim Pijl (Data Engineer at Finaps) held a short presentation about the project “Big Data for Small Babies”.


Big Data for Small Babies was one of the four projects of the ‘Applied Data Science in Medicine (ADAM) program, initiated by the UMC Utrecht. This project proposed the following question: Is it possible to proactively treat or even prevent an infection in premature babies using data analytics?


During the presentation, Daniel explained why it is important to proactively treat sepsis and how a multidisciplinary team of medical experts and data scientists helped to solve this problem. Tim explained how Finaps’ data-geeks, without much medical expertise, could solve a problem in a field they were no experts in. Daniel finished the presentation with a quote he heard a father say on his ward: “I am a data analyst and I make small decisions with loads of data. I find it really impressive how you make such important decisions with so little.“.


During this project, we showed that analytically-driven solutions are possible to solve complex problems in the health sector. In our opinion, the next step in healthcare is data-driven clinical decision support, but there is a long way to go before this can be realized.