Industry Spotlight: Jurgita Kaubryte, Principal Data Scientist at Oracle Cerner

When Jurgita Kaubryte spotted a job that combined her passion for health and math, she seized the opportunity. Now she’s helping Oracle Cerner grow its NHS client services in the growing field of data science.

Jurgita Kaubryte’s future career path was defined early in life, but she didn’t know it immediately. Coming from a family of doctors, with a pharmacist mother and a dentist father, she was passionate about health.

But she was also interested in finding quantitative solutions to problems.

“My favorite subject was mathematics at school, and I chose economics to start my career,” she explains.

As an adult, it’s no surprise she found herself in what Harvard Business Review once called “the sexiest job of the 21st century.” Working at Oracle Cerner as a Senior Data Scientist, she leads the expansion of their data science services to NHS clients.

Her work, which she combines with doctoral studies in data science in cancer genomics, involves developing machine learning models to support population health management, for example by helping to predict falls in older people and identifying people at risk for high blood pressure.

Data science in demand

The demand for data science has increased dramatically in recent years, with a 2019 Royal Society report claiming that the need for workers with data science skills has tripled in five years. Oracle Cerner is no exception, says Kaubryte, which will hire three data science interns in September.

“Health data science is still fairly new, so we’re a small team right now,” she says.

“But we are seeing growing demand for data science services from our NHS clients and expect to hire more people this year.”

As well as creating predictive risk models to help NHS Integrated Care Systems (ICS) manage population health, Kaubryte is also designing new internal processes for Oracle Cerner’s data science business in the UK. -United.

She also set up the company’s data science internship program in the UK, which will run for the first time this year. She says this will allow recent graduates to spend four months working on a data science project and collaborating with NHS customers.

“We are excited to open this learning opportunity to recent graduates and grow our data science team,” she says.

Four key skills

When hiring data scientists, Kaubryte looks for four key skills. These are quantitative skills, such as statistics and machine learning, and knowledge of programming languages.

Other skills, she says, include communication and visualization.

“You have to be a storyteller because if you can’t explain your model to clinicians and other users, it won’t be used,” Kaubryte adds.

The final skill is domain knowledge, which she considers important to Oracle Cerner’s business. Data scientists need a strong knowledge of health data, she says, and an understanding of how NHS healthcare works.

Develop future skills

Kaubryte works ten hours a day, four days a week at Oracle Cerner, leaving on Fridays to work on a PhD at University College London, where she is developing machine learning models on linked electronic health records and genomic data. to predict and improve cancer outcomes.

“It’s very difficult because I put in more hours than most people, but it’s also rewarding. I like having a foothold in both academia and industry,” she says.

“Through my work at Oracle Cerner, I help solve NHS challenges with immediate impact on current services, while through my PhD I have the chance to contribute to long-term advances in the field of health, such as genomics research.”

Kaubryte thinks having a doctorate becomes important for career development.

” Master’s degree [degree] is no longer sufficient for some data science jobs. And my feeling is this [requirement] will get stronger [over time],” she declares.

Prevent ill health

Kaubryte was working at IBM Watson Health when she was alerted to the position at Oracle Cerner by a colleague she had previously worked with at Telstra Health UK.

“What appealed to me was that Oracle Cerner, through NHS partnerships, has access to a wealth of rich data, which enables us to make a difference in managing the health of the population,” she says.

“Preventing healthy people from getting sick is the most powerful thing you can do in health care.”

“And now, as part of Oracle, we have access to world-class data science platforms and tools,” Kaubryte adds.

Among the projects she has done so far is a predictive model to help GPs identify people who will develop hypertension in the next five years. The model, developed alongside the Hampshire and Isle of Wight ICS, is expected to go live in the coming weeks and will support preventative services for long-term conditions.

In addition, she recently developed a model to predict falls in the elderly.

Forward to the future

Later this year, Kaubryte plans to develop a predictive model to help prioritize patients awaiting elective treatment.

“It’s an exciting project because NHS waiting lists are a huge problem,” she says, citing the statistic that a record 6.6 million people are currently waiting for treatment.

The model will use data on health, lifestyle and demographics to predict the risk of, for example, an emergency room admission, and rank each patient according to their likelihood of future deterioration. They can then be reprioritized, if necessary, on the waiting list to get faster treatment.

Kaubryte will also develop new techniques to visualize and explain patterns, mitigate health care inequities, and monitor patterns to ensure their performance does not decline over time.

“Even in the world of data science, the importance of pattern monitoring is not fully understood by everyone,” she says.

“Anyone can develop a model, but making sure it works well over time is more complex and difficult to do.”

In the future, Kaubryte believes healthcare providers will use data science to predict and prevent health deterioration and tailor treatment to patients by analyzing their genetic, lifestyle and health data.

“Precision medicine is a future priority for the NHS and, with advances in technology and new emerging data sources such as genomics, it will become important in helping to detect disease earlier and deliver personalized treatments” , she concludes.

Contact Oracle Cerner:

Twitter: @cernerUK
Linkedin: Oracle Cerner

Sean N. Ayres