11.12.2018 | Rea­ding time: 6 min

Nora Köberle (28), Digital Health Data Scientist at Vilua, reports.

When I exp­lain what I do every day, many peop­le are initi­al­ly a litt­le con­fu­sed: „What? You can pre­dict that I will have a slip­ped disc in three years? Of cour­se, that’s not how it works. As a Digi­tal Health Data Sci­en­tist, I sys­te­ma­ti­cal­ly eva­lua­te anony­mi­zed pati­ent data and disea­se pro­gres­si­ons and gene­ra­te new know­ledge from them, which also refers to state­ments about the future. Howe­ver, the­se are sta­tis­ti­cal values. This means that I make pat­terns visi­ble in mil­li­ons of key figu­res and can say how high the pro­ba­bi­li­ty is for a per­son to con­tract a cer­tain disea­se in a cer­tain peri­od of time – if cer­tain fac­tors, such as age, weight, stress fac­tors, occupa­ti­on, pre­vious ill­nes­ses come tog­e­ther. But this is only the first step. The real issue is what we can do with this know­ledge: Name­ly, pre­ven­ti­on, taking health-main­tai­ning mea­su­res and try­ing to posi­tively influ­ence health in advan­ce.

Nora Köber­le 

Tech­ni­cal­ly, we have reached a point whe­re we can use this infor­ma­ti­on from the many for the bene­fit of each indi­vi­du­al pati­ent and, best of all, alrea­dy befo­re­hand in health main­ten­an­ce. We sud­den­ly see medi­cal and phar­maceu­ti­cal inter­re­la­ti­ons, which we might never have dis­co­ve­r­ed our­sel­ves befo­re. Pos­si­ble risks can be iden­ti­fied much more quick­ly.

The basis for this is the health data. Actual­ly, it is said that it almost doesn’t mat­ter which data you have in front of you as a data sci­en­tist, becau­se the sta­tis­ti­cal methods are always the same. But I quick­ly rea­li­zed that it’s some­thing dif­fe­rent whe­ther I work for an online shop or a bank, for examp­le. Medi­cal data is more com­plex and mul­ti-laye­red. To get the right ans­wers from the data sets, pro­grams like R-Stu­dio are my best fri­ends and it helps a lot to mas­ter dif­fe­rent pro­gramming lan­guages. In addi­ti­on, one is alrea­dy awa­re that behind every pie­ce of infor­ma­ti­on the­re is a per­son who is not well or was not well.

It was the­re­fo­re important to me to do some­thing with data that helps peop­le direc­t­ly. With Vilua this is pos­si­ble. For examp­le, com­pa­nies that want to do some­thing for the fit­ness and well-being of their employees call us. We then work tog­e­ther with the indi­vi­du­al employees who would like to do so and collect indi­vi­du­al health infor­ma­ti­on. As a result, we can give very tar­ge­ted and mea­ning­ful recom­men­da­ti­ons that can real­ly help the indi­vi­du­al.

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