It could be possible to use technology to detect the causes of bone fractures by tapping into data collected from forensic experiments and stored in the Cloud, reported Wired this month. The new database, used to analyse various patterns of fracturing, was presented to the American Academy of Forensic Science earlier this year aiming to provide investigators with an idea of what may or may not have happened in real-life cases.

This is just one example of where computer scientists and engineers are able to collaborate with others to develop a system capable of making reliable classifications in a particular field of investigation. In this case, they worked with forensic anthropologists to analyse factors such as impact energy, contact surface, skull age, fracture length, and the number of fractures-per-bone in different scenarios, with quantifiable success.

Next, the newly created database was applied to data from real forensic investigations across the US, aiming to calculate whether the impact was caused deliberately or was the cause of an accident. It was found that the conclusions matched those of the autopsy 84% of the time. Rather than being a replacement for traditional methods of investigation, the database can now ‘be used to help investigators draw yet better-informed inferences from the facts’, for example, by predicting what object may have caused the fracture in a particular scenario.

Recently on our blog, we have been discussing the value of data-driven insights for business and financial services; for insurers, banks and asset management organisations – but it’s easy to forget just how many other endeavours could be supported by technology, particularly in health and social care.

Ease of access to data is increasingly crucial to providing a successful, joined up approach to health and social care. From the efforts of those providing social care on the move, to the doctor able to consult clinical dashboards in an emergency, to the team of forensic scientists investigating a crime scene, valid conclusions can be reached with greater ease via cloud technology and the well-developed database.