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Scaling the Heights of Data to Build a Healthier Nation

Clarence Ngoh, a Data Analyst at IHiS, likens his work to scaling a mountain of data to derive smarter insights to keep our nation healthy, and conducting a great symphony to ensure every system component harmonised to enhance patient journeys.

Choosing IHiS was just a natural progression for Clarence after his graduation.

A Bachelor of Science graduate in Information Systems from Singapore Management University and Masters in Information System Management from Carnegie Mellon University, Clarence could have chosen many other industry sectors open to him when he was ready to embark on his career but felt that only HealthTech could fulfil his career aspirations.

“I think the IHiS brand of HealthTech represents innovation with strong delivery. There are many complex challenges in healthcare that we need to solve through technology that is really unlike other industries. This piques my interest as we need to keep evolving in solution design and ensure that systems work well together to eventually improve every patient’s journey,” he said.
As a Data Analyst in the Emerging Capabilities – Health Insights, Platform Planning team, Clarence designs and develops data platforms and infrastructure which are used by the Data Science team and cluster analysts. He is also involved in advanced analytic work such as deep-learning, and collaborates with Data Scientists to translate their machine learning models into AI-enabled applications.

He explains: “We are the caretakers of the Health Analytics architecture and roadmap. We need to be able to innovate fast, but ensure that our systems are secure at the same time. And make sure that components work well together– ensuring that systems, data, people and processes can come together to generate outcomes of value to healthcare.”

Ensuring that a system infrastructure works well in every part, this Platform Engineer likes that he can fully apply his expertise toward forging Singapore’s healthcare to solve emerging challenges.

“As it is one of the fastest growing sectors here, and one of the most complex,” he adds, “there are plenty of interesting challenges we will face now and in the future to come.”

Citing the example of a recent project, Clarence believes that his work at IHiS gives him great meaning since digitalisation to procedures and administration is much more than just thinking about the technologies.

He is currently working with doctors from the radiology and respiratory departments at Changi General Hospital to develop predictive models which helps to identify high-risk patients with community-acquired pneumonia, including the Coronavirus disease. This will allow healthcare workers to make informed decisions and help in resource planning as they can better prioritise cases, especially in the face of resource constraints such as limited hospital beds and ICU facilities.

Clarence shares, “It is a multi-disciplinary effort that requires collaboration between medical, data science and engineering teams. We all have to work in an “agile” way to manage complexities and challenges, such as adapting to new guidelines from the medical research community mid-way through the project.”

He adds, “To work in HealthTech, we have to master complexity, and become a leader of technology AND people … You cannot simply have one without the other. The IT systems provide the digitised support for our healthcare professionals on the ground, to best serve patients and their healthcare needs.  This is something I remind myself as I grow in my role and function at IHiS.”

It is also, why he decided to pursue a part-time PhD because he looks forward to being a part of an important sector where there are many frontiers to conquer. To which he quips, “What better way to keep honing your capabilities and experience than in an ever-expansive and fast-paced environment where everything you do and explore in studies can contribute to a nation-wide health ecosystem?”

Asked about what much-needed advice he can offer to his peers or juniors before embarking on a career in IT, he offers: “If you are seeking a deep sense of purpose beyond technical solutions or just another tech invention, then consider HealthTech. This is where you can be a part of something much bigger and more meaningful for the nation.”

This article was first published by Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS).