By Jonathan Gerstein

As a data scientist, it is thrilling to see the advances and applications that data science is bringing into the world of healthcare. Machine learning has become particularly advanced in the field of medical imaging. Companies are testing applications today that can take an image taken on a cell phone and predict with a high degree of confidence whether a presenting lesion is likely skin cancer. Predicting the molecular effects of genetic variation through deep learning, machine learning algorithms simplify and shorten the discovery process, from the initial screening of drug compounds to the prediction of success rate based on biological factors. Such algorithms can forecast how the compound will act in the body using statistical modeling and simulations instead of more lengthy and costly lab experiments.

In the commercial space, companies are starting to use AI to train algorithms that help patients make health decisions in the form of algorithmic chat bots that can diagnose and recommend specific protocol – much in the same way a primary care physician might navigate through their decision tree of algorithms.  The field of predictive health is also benefitting from AI as genetic testing, the IoT environment, and more behavioral data points are being captured and modeled to present back future diabetic, mental health, respiratory, or cardiac risks that would, to a more conventional model, appear asymptomatic.

The full realization of ‘Transformation’ will address, specifically, the clients we work with every day. Brand managers, and their sales teams that are inundated with data science buzz but find it challenging to know how best to activate on the success of data science for the purposes of commercial product promotion, disease education, and patient support. The good news is that data science can help in each of these areas but the choice of what services or products will help is still a question that is best answered on a case by case basis and requires the alignment of the clients focus and an understanding of the possibilities, expectations, and deliberate selection of the right data sets and the right data science. Analysis and reporting are an important function in understanding the impact of prior decisions, but data science helps make the best future decisions. It is unique within the agency domain for Guidemark Health to house and offer data science consulting and capability and fits perfectly with the mantra of being One Need Ahead.


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