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Eyal's Babylon Career Journey

What Babylon team are you part of?

The Babylon Insights team

What drew you to data science?

Data science was the natural personal pivot after a ten year career of academic work in the field of observational cosmology. My Ph.D advisor suggested, “Follow the data”, which I took to heart. Coming from a research background, I love the fact that my skills of answering tough questions are transferable and with some training on machine learning I could be effective in many domains from commercial to biotech and now healthcare.

What drew you to Babylon?

I love the product and the mission of making healthcare accessible to everyone on Earth. On the day that I signed my contract I actually happened to need medical advice. Babylon has transformed a fairly painful process in the UK of scheduling an appointment with an expert and getting a prescription to a seamless one. I feel fortunate to contribute to a product that I actually enjoy using and find meaningful!

What do you enjoy about your role?

I enjoy deep diving into a topic to understand it. My work mostly revolves around improving the accuracy of our Symptom Checker feature, which poses many interesting challenges. It also gives me a unique opportunity to work with dedicated and courteous internal stakeholders such as clinicians and product managers. Perhaps the thing I enjoy most about my role is facilitating stakeholders to make data driven decisions and being in a position to quantify and report the impact of interventions.

What skills did it take to get here?

My previous roles have enabled me to pick up along the way expertise required to enjoy my work and have an impact. I gained a lot of transferable skills during my academic research like Statistics, Inference, Python, writing and learning to present to various audiences. When I transitioned to the private sector, I picked up Machine Learning, SQL, decision making optimisation and data visualisation. I have recently taken up Causality to improve my capabilities of inference and design of experiments. Last, but not least, success depends on soft skills (always a work in progress …) and business acumen are crucial for the role, too. As a previous line manager of mine said: “Hard skills determine if you win or lose, soft skills by how much”.

What projects are you most proud of?

I devised a reporting tool to help clinicians understand the impact of modifications to the Symptom Checker. This substantially improved the quality of the information provided to users and the recommendations made. This was done by analysing results and delivering to clinicians the most relevant data to enable them to make decisions that ensure the appropriateness of the recommended next steps. This project involved analysing medical rules that ensure the safety of the Symptom Checker, which at its core is a Probabilistic Graphical Model, as well as applying a causal evaluation framework. I really enjoy working with engineers and clinicians to transform this working prototype into a scalable automated tool.

Another project that I am proud of was participating in an internal two-day “Health Hackathon”. The team that I worked with explored the implications of adding a drug to the Symptom Checker, which won us the second place out of 40 teams! I was also impressed that a new data scientist could make contributions to the team on their third day on the job.

What’s your claim to fame?

Professionally - In 2017 the New York Times published a joke of mine that I told at a company party. They did this without my permission!

Personally - during a span of a decade I lived in four different continents.

    The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.