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Database Research: Is Happiness a Humongous Database?

David M. Smith, MD
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

The Regenstrief Institute for Health Care; Indiana University Medical Center; Indianapolis, IN 46202. Note: This article is one of a series of articles comprising an Annals of Internal Medicine supplement entitled “Measuring Quality, Outcomes, and Cost of Care Using Large Databases: The Sixth Regenstrief Conference.” To see a complete list of the articles included in this supplement, please view its Table of Contents.


Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1997;127(8_Part_2):725. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-127-8_Part_2-199710151-00057
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At an earlier Regenstrief Conference, T-shirts were printed with the caption “Happiness is a Humongous Database.” In light of some reports in this section, that caption may have to be modified to less-definitive phrases, such as “is sometimes,” “is sometimes not,” “may be,” or “could be.” This is a common historical pattern of the use of a new technology. A swell of interest and excitement accompanies discovery-so much so that use is widely disseminated. Then, flaws appear. Fortunately, the flaws do not destroy database research but rather stimulate interest in finding out what is right, what is wrong, and how we can make it better. Each paper presented in this section carries a unique message. For database researchers and persons interpreting and considering applying the results of this research, these works deserve careful attention.

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happiness

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