An abridged version was also published on the UBC Master of Data Science blog
Part 1: Why I Did It?
In my second year of medical school, I decided to open an unfamiliar email entitled: “UBC Centennial Symposium on Health Informatics”. What was Health Informatics? I had no idea, but I intended to find out. The symposium featured the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and showcased their use of large population datasets to improve the quality of NHS services in various ways - by providing research support, industry development, and quality improvement. I was impressed with how advanced the NHS was in using data to actually improve care. I went into medicine because caring for and establishing relationships with patients fulfills a personal desire to help people one on one. Applying data science to healthcare seemed to provide the opportunity to positively impact millions at a time, in addition to one at a time.
So why now? Well, we are reaching a critical mass to drive healthcare’s transition to digital, following many other industries. This is a combination of more health data, better health data, the rapid growth in the field of data science, better and faster computation and a greater cultural shift in healthcare as a whole.