Liya Lomsadze ('13) Likes Big Data and She Cannot Lie

“My recent research project actually came about

after our grant application got rejected.“

Liya Lomsadze (DC ’13) recently moved to New York to work for Northwell Health, as a Project Manager with the Pathology Informatics group. We asked her to talk to us about the work she is doing in the world of healthcare data, and the kinds of challenges she encounters in her field.

What projects are you currently working on?

I'm working on several dozen projects right now, all of which revolve around making lab data more accessible and useful to clinicians and other healthcare professionals. Some of that involves building tools that make it easier to access data in bulk, going around and meeting with people in different parts of the hospital system to understand their needs, and trying to bridge the gaps between the clinical and technical worlds.

What kind of response have you gotten to your research?

Not much yet! I'm presenting some of our findings about acute kidney injury at my first conference in November, but research is a smaller part of my work these days. I was doing research full time in my last job at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation where I worked with a team that was trying to quantify healthcare spending in the United States. A lot of our work is in the publishing pipeline right now.

What is your favorite aspect of your research?

The nerdy answer is that I really enjoy doing research closer to the source of our data. Working within a hospital network I've gotten a much richer and more contextualized understanding of our data and a more pressing interest to produce something interesting and useful for patient care.

The road to development can be long and winding. Tell us about how your most recent project came to be?

My recent research project actually came about after our grant application got rejected. In the process of writing this grant we discovered something that's led us down an exciting but still very preliminary road.

What activities did you participate in at Yale that affected your career path?

At Yale I got the opportunity to do fantastically fun and diverse research, in particular with Professor Scott Strobel's rainforest class and the zero-gravity research team. By my senior year though I found myself getting more interested in how we communicate about these technical topics. Taking a science writing class and working for Yale's science outreach initiative exposed me to how challenging and important that communication is. I've been seeking out work opportunities that put me between the science or code and the people whose work they make possible.

What business pressures have you felt in your career?

Now that I have the luxury of not needing to live and die by grant money, that pressure has changed and it varies a lot depending on the kind of project I'm working on and which portion of the lab business it touches.

There are so many fascinating and murky business pressures in healthcare, especially as we move from getting paid for performing a service to maybe someday getting paid for keeping people healthy. I'm trying to think more about how we can align those pressures with what we know about human behavior, evidence based care, and the choices we make in designing our tools.

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