When (x) = Data Science

March 25, 2018

How do you say “data”? Is it ‘day-ta’ or ‘dar-tar’? I’ve never really been sure, and if it’s “Big”, then it must be important…..#sizematters

 

But seriously – it seems like we’ve been talking about it for so long. Continuously held up by many as a ‘new oil’ [1,2], it’s also big for business – with expected spend this year of ~ $114B (yes, billion) [3]. Anyone who's anyone has it as part of their offering..... and we're in that category too, we just haven't be 'out there' with it!

 

In health care there is no doubt that there are enormous data resources available to improve care. In hospitals they can be huge, usually found in the basement, in both paper and electronic form, sitting right next to the old beds and that rusting commode.... But don't forget the other collections, clinical registries, improvement projects or just that Office 97 Excel file that a junior doc or nurse started as a project on a 'quiet' night shift....

 

So if there’s so much of it, and there’s so much available, and there’s such big investments….if there’s so much potential to do things better…..why are we not seeing the rapid improvement in outcomes, experience and efficiency?

 

There's no straight answer, but it's something we’re going to add more weight to. And to do that we need the right people. 

 

If you’ve ever tried to learn something new, you’ll know that having someone coach, support and challenge you to achieve your goals makes the experience so much more fulfilling – not necessarily easier, but at least not as lonely. 

 

Equally, if you’ve ever given someone advice, passed on some knowledge or experience, you'll remember that when they ‘get it’, when they have the ‘ahhhaa’ moment, there’s that little rush of satisfaction, of pride and happiness.

 

It’s these two things that we are trying to foster into the culture of Potential(x): 

1) continuous and deliberate development so we can support our clients to unlock their potential and in turn benefit health care and human services; and

2) to build a team and environment that supports and challenges, so that we reach our collective potential. 

 

We're by no means perfect, but we are trying.

 

To do this, it’s so important that we have the right people working and leading our team, and who, as individuals, have the capacity to challenge and support us all to ‘be more’. We also need to build on our heritage of robust data analysis and the development of methods and systems that un-lock the potential in health care data. 

 

So it is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Dr Rohan Cattell as our Chief Data Scientist.

 

Rohan brings an exceptional pedigree in mathematics, with a PhD, 1st class Honours and Bachelor degrees from the University of Newcastle. He will bring significant skills in the application of mathematical concepts and methods through technology with his experience as a software developer, and in building capability across teams utilising his experience as lecturer and tutor.  

 

He will be well known to many of our Health Roundtable members as he has been an informatics consultant with the team for many years. Over this time he has supported the development of new models of mortality analysis and has published analysis on Emergency Access Targets and performance. 

 

Rohan also has experience in the arts - with a stint as a playwright and a combined Bachelor of Arts degree. It is through this unique combination of skills that we will aim to bring more narrative to our work – an ability to communicate, to tell the story in data and to inspire an emotional connection that will activate our teams and clients.  

It’s only from the actions & continuous learning that is achieved from the use of 'big data', that we will realise the potential. 

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