What is Health Data Science?

Health Data Science is the science and art of generating data-driven solutions through comprehension of complex real-world health problems, employing critical thinking and analytics to derive knowledge from (big) data. Health Data Science is an emergent discipline, arising at the intersection of (bio)statistics, computer science, and health.

While grappling to define “data science” a Harvard Business Review purports “Data Scientist to be The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century”. In this article, they refer to the “data scientist” as a “new breed”. In outlining what this new breed looks like, they suggest thinking “of him or her as a hybrid of data hacker, analyst, communicator, and trusted adviser”. An “extremely powerful” breed, which is “rare”. McKinsey and Company project an excess demand of 1.5 million by 2018 in the United States alone. Glassdoor ranked “Data Scientist” as the top job in 2016 and again in 2017!

Data Science benefits from a synergy arising from an efficiency in having the “It’s much more efficient to have the same mind with the product sense decide what metrics are relevant, the programming sense to implement tracking, and the statistical sense to provide analysis.” Critical to this is what is referred to in Data Science parlance as ‘product’. Thus the product (or context) of health is a major unique focus point of this program.


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