How Healthcare Data Science is Special


Healthcare is a growth field for data science, promising opportunities for process improvement and innovations to support better patient outcomes. In clinical contexts, models are being used to support more accurate diagnosis and to streamline the work of care providers. Models are used by health insurers to process claims more efficiently, to identify members in need of care coordination support, and to tailor programs to meet the needs of clients. And more and more data is becoming available, from shareable electronic health records to wearable sensor data and diagnostic imagery, to allow more targeted and intelligent decision making for patients.

But applying data science and artificial intelligence in the healthcare space presents some unique challenges. To take one example, healthcare data can be fragmented due to the many players in the ecosystem and the opportunities for data exchange that they have with one another. And for another, strict patient privacy regulations can limit the use of certain tools and platforms.

In this session, we will draw on our experience in healthcare and other data science contexts to address the most significant pitfalls in this area. Dr. Higgins has expertise in bringing data science to production across many domains, ranging from educational technology to marketing to real estate and healthcare. Dr. Daniel has deep expertise in policy, analytics and data in the healthcare space. We will illustrate the challenges of healthcare data science by means of specific recent projects, and provide leaders with a roadmap to successful navigation of these obstacles.


Dr. Derrick Higgins is the Head of Data Science & AI at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. His team serves as a center of excellence, facilitating collaboration, providing governance, and assembling data science best practices for the enterprise. He has built and led data science teams at American Family Insurance, Civis Analytics, and the Educational Testing Service. His work has been published in leading conferences and journals in the fields of computational linguistics, speech processing, and language testing, and has resulted in ten patents. He also teaches graduate computer science at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

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