Past PhD Fellows: Where are they now? Paolo Fraccaro

2 Aug

In this series, we catch up with past Greater Manchester PSTRC PhD Fellows to see what they are doing now and how their PhD projects affected patient safety. This edition, our past PhD Fellow is Paolo Fraccaro.

Paolo Fraccaro_cropped

What did you learn during your PhD?

Almost one and a half years after finishing my PhD, I cannot stress enough what a great (although painful at times) experience it has been. I have learned a lot from many different perspectives, including technical and interpersonal skills. Particularly, I have strengthened my skills in health informatics and data science, while learning to be autonomous and to interact with many different professionals with different backgrounds. I also had the opportunity to present my work at international conferences, and visit the USA for two months to work with colleagues overseas. I feel this contributed in broadening my horizons, making me a better researcher.

How has your PhD changed the patient safety landscape?

My PhD helped to show how using technology to contextualise information with technology is essential to improve patient safety. My studies ranged from showing how different presentations of laboratory results influence patient interpretation and actions, to developing and testing computer algorithms that can predict in advance specific outcomes (e.g. death and chronic kidney disease), taking into account the specific patient context (e.g. previous medical history). Such algorithms, if integrated in GPs computer programs, have the potential to support primary care doctors in identifying patients at risk quickly.

What you are doing now and where you see yourself going in your future career?

For the last year and a  half, I have worked as a postdoctoral Research Associate in a project called “The Wearable Clinic” led by Niels Peek in the Centre of Health Informatics at The University of Manchester. The aim of the project is to tailor monitoring and treatment of patients with chronic conditions, by using information from wearable devices (e.g. activity trackers or smartphones) as well as data reported by patients themselves. In September, I will start in a new role as a Data Scientist at IBM Research UK . Although I am sad to leave after five amazing years at The University of Manchester, I am really excited to begin this new adventure in industry!

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