scaling people

Scaling Humans and Healthcare

A key project I’m involved in at work is an online program that helps people with diabetes and prediabetes make sustainable changes to their habits for better health. Our health coaches, in particular dietitians, are an essential component that contributes to the efficacy of the program. An oft-asked question I get is that health coaching is a high-touch human service – how do you scale that up? Or the famous ‘million’ question – Suppose you have 1 million participants, you can’t possible have enough dietitians or coaches to handle them all...

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Machine Learning : I did it, so can you too.

As promised, here’s my Python notebook which I used to generate my first set of predictions using machine learning. This is for passenger survival in the Titanic data set (Kaggle). The Titanic training data set contains 890 rows (Passengers), each with 12 columns including Name, Sex, Age, Ticket number, Passenger Class, Cabin name, Port of Embarkation, number of siblings. A relatively small data set but fun to play with as a novice without feeling overwhelmed! After some quick explorations of the data, I begin with some basic data munging. This is to prepare the data set for fitting...

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How NOT to approach a grant proposal (for startups).

Having written up at least 4 grant proposals for our company’s projects over the past year, I feel that I’m at least partially qualified to say this: Grant writing (for startups) is a painful process. Don’t get me wrong – every single person I’ve worked with at these grant agencies has been very helpful and enthusiastic and I am thankful for their guidance. Singapore is often cited as one of the best places to startup in Asia, with a multitude of sources of non-equity funding  for early / very early stage companies. These grants usually come from various...

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Data Science: My Journey from Doctor to Noob Kaggler.

In the last couple of months, I’ve been pursuing another hobby  – data science and artificial intelligence (AI). You might have followed the much-publicised match between Lee Sedol, one of the world’s best Go players, and AlphaGo, an AI system developed by Google that spurred discussions about the future of AI. (Spoiler : AlphaGo won 4 – 1) This has been partly triggered by my work at Holmusk, where our brilliant data science team has been winning multiple competitions and most recently took part in the Second Annual Data Science Bowl on Kaggle. This was a challenge...

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We Are All Hypocrites: Changing Behaviours and Mindsets

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been hooked onto the book ‘The Happiness Hypothesis‘, whenever I can squeeze out some time for non-medical reading. It’s fascinating, and has given me more insights into human psychology I first came across the book while I was studying up on Tony Hsieh and Zappos. Zappos is an online shoe retailer that is known for its legendary customer service, taking the words ‘the customer is king’ to the next level (they were acquired by Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2009). I was searching for concepts we could apply in our own company...

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The Ominous Octet – How Type 2 Diabetes Develops

Back when I was in medical school, some 7+ years ago, diabetes mellitus didn’t seem so complex.  There were less big words – no canagliflozins, exenatides, sitagliptins, and the newest kid on the medication block were the TZDs.  And we were taught that there were 2 main mechanisms for the development of diabetes: Insulin-resistance – your muscles and liver don’t respond well to insulin Lack of insulin secretion – your beta-cells have lost their function   Today, we know that there are at least 8 different mechanisms that play an important role in Type...

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Source - Mediacorp/Channel News Asia

6 Startups Tackling The Problem of Modern Aging

6 startups pitched their ideas at the finale event for Modern Aging Singapore on Dec 5. If you didn’t already know, Modern Aging Singapore is a 4-month program in Singapore that was launched this year by ACCESS Health. During this period, it takes participants from ideation into a viable business plan through workshops and mentorships. My company has a significant interest in the problem – or rather, opportunity – of the rapidly aging population in countries like Japan, China and Singapore. In particular, around creating digitally-supported programs to prevent or delay...

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ice cream

Personalising dietary advice – Banana vs Cookies

Have less ice cream or chocolates, and more fruits and vegetables – that’s great dietary advice for good health right? Wrong!  Well, at least for some people. Let me pose you a simple question : Which do you think will lead to higher blood glucose levels after consumption – a banana or several cookies? (let’s say they were Famous Amos)   Cookies of course!  (you say?) This group of Isreali researchers attached a continuous glucose monitor to 800 participants and measured their responses to over 40,000 meals. They found that there was high variability in...

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hello WDD from Singapore!

WDD : Healthy Eating is a Right, not a Privilege

World Diabetes Day is celebrated internationally on November 14 and this year it happened last Saturday. The key message for this year is that Healthy Eating is a right, not a privilege. How can we ensure that everyone has access to healthy food at reasonable prices? How can we provide everyone with the knowledge and motivation to eat healthily? Difficult problems indeed. The statistics are alarming : More than 400 million people around the world have diabetes today. A healthy lifestyle can prevent up to 70% of type 2 diabetes, equivalent of up to 150 million cases by 2035. A healthy meal...

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up on stage!

Big Data and Chronic Diseases at Asia IoT Business Platform (4 Nov 2015)

Two weeks ago, I was invited to speak on the use of big data to fight chronic diseases at the Asia IoT Business Platform, held in Kuala Lumpur on 3 – 4 Nov 2015. Although I was only able to attend on the 2nd day, it was an interesting gathering of technologists and opportunists who are all interested in the potential for M2M and IoT to change the world. IoT = Internet of Things. It was my privilege to be able to share my personal viewpoints on how data science is going to transform medicine in the near future with an audience of over 200+ people, as well as connect with many new...

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