Maxine Mackintosh

Maxine is currently undertaking a PhD at UCL in neuroinformatics, at the intersection of data science and dementia. She has also completed an MSc in Health Policy and Economics at the LSE and LSHTM. Maxine is the Managing Director of HealthTech Women in the UK, and has worked at the Royal Society, DFID, L’Oreal, Roche and as an MSc research assistant for NHS England on AHSNs.


  • 0:00-1:00 So my name is Maxine Mackintosh I am a 23 year old data scientist having come from neuroscience and then health economics. Lots of different changes in direction! I’m a complete digit off else and health technology fanatic and supposed to meet some fun facts need introductions so I love fancy dress and I love really hot curries and my favourite colour is orange. I’m doing a PhD at the moment but it’s in health informatics and data science you well know is this new field its only about 10 years ago data science came into the field exits by name but obviously date which now all these health mathematician are being called data scientists but they’re still using things like stato which is sort of drag and drop statistics but no I do use R and because I think it’s just so much more powerful to analyse these massive data sets and especially when you’re looking at health care it’s in my case.

  • 1:01-2:00 I’m looking at patirnt records so I’ve got 20 million patients records and that I’m looking at you can’t really do with drag and drop. Statistics so yeah I am using our and I haven’t really got into the python a bit of it yet but I’m looking for my lab to use python the one thing I realize being used to data science does actually that people have different parts of the pathway that they’re involved looking at data you have someone who cleans it someone who prepare’s it than have someone who kind of analysis it then you might have a different person to visualize it and if you can do all of that pathway well more power to you but I think most people generally focus on one element so it comes to us in a filling normalized form because it’s medical data so it does have to be completed on us and it’s just rows and rows 20 million rows in fact and per patient of lots of different things that be it the date that they went into a hospital or what kind of tests they had when they were discharged no seas that sort of thing

  • 2:01-3:00 and that is your medical record and you think we have one NHS so we have one medical record but non we’ve got about 20 and they don’t talk to each other and then you’ve that’s in primary care so your GP and then you go to secondary care and got death you know you’ve got all these different data sets that are all these different data sets that are linked and don’t talk to each other so and it arrives technically in an unlinked form and it’s awkward to different people to put it together and put it in a form that can be analysed so when I get hold of it’s linked primary care second care and death and this is with your patient ID because everyone in the NHS has one patient identifier which is why and you care in a very unique position to do really serious population health analyses and then I at the moment I’m looking through medical records find new predictors for dementia I’m taking people who have a dementia diagnosing back 20 years and seeing actually is there something they all have in common 20 years prior to diagnosis and that at the moment we’re not associating with

  • 3:01-4:00 dementia so in dimension you think okay memory loss cognitive decline but by the time you’ve got any memory loss that’s way too late you need to be catching people several years before that and so I’m looking at medical records to see if in a really pre diagnostic stage and there are some symptoms that we’re at the moment don’t think our predictors dementia and we’re actually are so an example is something like gate so that way in which you walk that’s increasing becoming a complaint that people comment on in their medical record saying I’m having difficulty walking or I’m walking in a different way and that’s coming up a medical record about ten years before they’re actually diagnosed so interesting things like that thing about data science and health is that it’s very nation health people have a lot of their own job so you have the data science jargon plus all the clinical jargon just like a double job and whammy and I think that’s what makes data science and health a little bit unapproachable so it’s quite difficult thing for people just a you know get these health aide science and because it’s just so jog and heavy.

  • 4:01-5:00 before I started my PhD I decided to set up something called health tech women which started off as quite a loose community of women working health technology I thought this will be fun this is just going to be a nice little outlet this is going to be great thing to curate and get people together and talk by digital health technology and they exploded completely unexpectedly so that was in about October, November and five, six months later went out six and a half thousand members were a community interest company and it’s actually taking up so much time and so much energy and it’s amazing but it’s a serious commitment so I’m actually stepping back as this director and to being on a part-time pay director. I’ll be more involved as a kind of tramp and roll to make sure that its still doing what I wanted as in both operationally because it’s just become so big 5:01-6:00 and I think that’s been something that’s been quite important and difficult for me is realizing when you are the bottleneck so this is line that I started and I really love doing but I also realized quite recently that if it was going to continue to grow the pace it was then I couldn’t be in a position that I was still was because I could just can get it at the time and energy needed because of my other commitments so I’ve got a really good team now on broad and cross country leads and London and its voluntarily a lead but we have a few part time member and its really a really exciting fun group to be involved in and its just completely amazing how quickly its grown and the size which is grown as well and so the fact health pet grooming grew so big so quickly I think is a couple of reasons health technologies still quite a new field there’s lots of health care groups there also tech groups but health tech is quite neat still and if you go to silicon valley there’s tons more

  • 6:01-7:00 on digital health and there is here and it’s definitely really growing on me of you up with the way investments have been going past even the year international in digital health its just absolutely skyrocketed so it is a new field that’s really gaining momentum and so I think that there this it was very popular because were far away from being any little communities I also think it’s it was noticed and needed because health care itself is so female-dominated so the NHS on aggregate has seventy-seven percent women and you think well there isn’t there is a problem health care than actually you know worked the poor men it need a men’s support group like they’re so outnumbered and actually obviously starts going to those numbers you realize that actually eighty percent of the admin star for women and you know it’s junior nurses or its people not in senior positions and its not the consultants and it’s that classic professional pyramid and then if you start to go into the meditech health technology

  • 7:01-8:00 then the numbers drop even further so you’re sitting between kind of seven and twenty five percent according to walk part of meditech you’re in so you think ok well that’s and that’s a subset of health care so that’s not very important but actually its important step back and think were as health going and as you will know like most industries health care is becoming increasing dependent and driven by tech and tech based innovations and the future of health is digital health and so given the phone we have so many working women health care yet they’re not being there not in the position to be driving the innovation and being at the forefront of where healthcare is going that’s going to be a bit of a problem and so I think it’s just again more people more women discussing and literate and confident and excited about the future of healthcare as well and I think it was noticed that there were very few woman engaging in those discussions so the health tech women has a number of different arms at the moment were quite event space but we’re building out a number of different schemes so our events have been quite random and within the health technology sphere so we had a

  • 8:01-9:00 virtually breakfast last week where someone was showcasing the use of virtually of OCD and I mean and we had amazing people doing it for doing it for surgery absolutely OCD examples partially amazing because they have a bathroom which is just filthy you can effectively dial up how filthy the bathroom isn’t its this exposure based therapy based technique so you’ve got this virtuality disgusting bath you just have to confront with and its to help people overcome this all right interesting one we had last week and we’ve had ones about cross sector fertilization I guess we had tinder we had we had BT and we had some block trained people come and talk about different technologies and how they can be applied in healthcare and we’ve had ones about artificial intelligence we’ve had ones about security so old and each within a particular theme not just digital health but as a topic within digital health but they are

  • 9:01-10:00 with purposely covering a lot of different ground and trying to capture different people within the health technology sphere you know on your pointer machine learning artificial intelligence in health care it’s that application so obvious because the way in which doctor mates okay you have this you have thus no yes no it’s basically just yes no tree and your cross comparing lots dots a different potential interactions or potential symptoms that’s just like your classic algorithms I mean it is algorithmic thinking and you know dr. doctors are people that have you know really stressful work environment lives and calm really compute all that is medicine actually think about it that sort of decision making can be done so much more powerful effectively and so much more powerfully and so much more quickly by a machine that’s that was definitely I think very much the future of medicine and it’s now increasingly likely again with most industries working out where the human lies within this discussion and obviously with the healthcare I think most people agree the fact that

  • 10:01-11:00 care fundamentally will need to remain human to humans but there are elements in the system that can be digitized so we haven’t hosted any hackathons per se but we link up to a number of them so we will be working with the NHS hack days because I went to one of them recently at kings and it was a fantastic event people came up with the most amazing and things over the weekend like always blown away with how incredible and think how incredibly someone can come up with that technology with a piece of kit in a weekend but the hackathon had very very very few women it was even though as an NHS hackathon and as I said there are so many women in NHS they were a handful so we’re going to be partnering with hack phones just to make sure people feel the cop feel confident and if you’re able to go to them because conference attending hack phones as a big thing and I mean I always say that telling your first hackathon is probably worse than losing your virginity!

  • 11:01-12:00 because everyone turns up you turn up never knows that they’re doing they’re all you know just starting upping their you know our studio already and you just think god how am I even going to start a new then you know IBM’s hosting hackathon which were partnering with and there was a plastic surgery hackathon so I think we’re more about partnering up with hackathons are already running and providing that channel of access the people within the community to join normal hackathons opposed to have an exclusive hackathon ourselves so because the healthcare women grew so quickly in chronic affected manners we didn’t maybe invest in I’ve structure as much as we should have saw next few months are very much focused about consolidation our foundations and making sure that I did basically rich and curated was going through a new website to make sure it’s really well documented posit ori for people working in the health technology sphere and we’re on a number programs including legal clinics for female founded SME so freely links for a legal advice was thriving and transition programs for as much additional PhDs and postdoc academics to then move into industry

  • 12:01-13:00 and we are were running all sorts of things around mentorship as well so we were building quite a big repository of mentors both men and women who just want to help mentor people within the health technology sphere and so just operationalizing a lot of this is about prioritizing what were doing and we spread an actually very quickly so now it’s about making sure that every city that we spread in so needs Sheffield, Newcastle ,Manchester London, Oxford, Cambridge sure that those communities are not just one off of urns but there’s actually communities going on within each of those respective cities so I think our next I think the next couple years it’s very much about making sure that each community is thriving in their respective locations but also we’re working very hard to engage the clinical community a bit more so we bought on a new clinical director and the idea is that hopefully she can help get clinician’s to engage in this a lot more because and they’re going to be the ones 13:01-14:00 to really drive a lot of these innovations but they by and large don’t have the bandwidth or the confidence or the knowledge to know how to actually know innovate within medicine or creator and star paul or at least tia Martha see if they can find a solution together so I think the exciting thing is about health technology is this whole idea health technology is this whole idea of democratizing of healthcare knowledge so in the olden days your doctor used to know all the information about health care and you nothing and so it was this hyper paternalistic very separate thing you’d engage and you would never know anything about your own health! But thanks to google people are significantly more knowledge able about their health care and that means that people feel equipped with the information and with access to the knowledge that they actually can do something about it so I think it’s this whole democratizing of healthcare and the fact that technology might not be the solutions but it’s the means by which you can further democratize that knowledge and further democratize that access and like with most industries there’s always kind of mantras so you’ve got one of them being there’s people.

  • 14:01-15:00 Powered health by the fact that actually uses of health care are it’s and patients often in the past haven’t been engaged in driving innovations of that disease area or that condition. But again with technology you can actually get patients to be the ones to be designing it and building it and deciding how to drive the treatment of that condition because they’re the ones you know suffering all the other ones who are the patients so I think you can just access significantly more people to get involved and start innovating and that’s something really exciting thing because it’s not just to the bad the behest of doctors and to drive that so I think that’s very exciting thing I think secondly after democratization I think it’s this whole wellness healthcare gap so people see wellness is this or sort of fatty hippy on evidence-based thing that we do be it yoga or gluten-free or

  • 15:01-16:00 Anything related in that respect but regard so when you agree with lots of yoga or gluten-free the point is that it’s this whole wellness fear and actually wellness is the key to prevention of disease and so it’s about closing that gap between getting people in their own homes making sure that people are staying out of hospitals so your piece basically keeping healthy people healthy and that’s a huge thing the tech can do because it can you know beyond your smartwatch to tell you you know hey Maxine you sadly your desk all day get moving or it can say and you’ve only inputted bags of crisps today yoou need to do something about this and oh actually more seriously you can say you need to do your blood pressure and just you know have a device on your phone that does that and you can say hey your blood pressure is a little bit high and you might want to take XYZ and then go see your GP so it’s all these things to basically get people in their own home so they don’t have to use hospitals so I think those are the kind of really exciting bits is the fact that you can start to really do prevention and you can get that a population scale by engaging lots more people in that innovation in terms of people are trying to get into it unlike

  • 16:01-17:00 many areas I think that a fair amount of understanding because healthcare is not just health it’s sitting within a really complex physiology sitting within a really complex health system infrastructure I mean it will take you years to get your head around how the NHS works for example so I think for any people wanting to start to work in health care it’s a really about boobs are and I’m somewhat that’s fairies and that whole thing is just attending events meeting people getting stuff into the projects because that seen any we only really the way you can start to understand how healthcare works and it’s just so complex it’s not something to step into I mean even for that’s constantly changing and you can’t just set up a company without the right regulations thoroughness being a fantastic example so I think taking the time to I say the problem and I say what’s happening in health care and how technology can do that and that’s just about attending events

  • 17:01-18:00 Talking to people getting stuck into projects I think that’s probably the side give would be to take it slow and spend ninety percent of your time information gathering and problem identifying because then the solution will be quite evident there’s a growing number of health technology communities and groups and that sort of thing there’s one that’s very big internationally one that’s called health to point oh so they run about 45 meters a year and you’ve got the health tech innovation labs which is another community and based in London you’ve got the health ontology forum another these are all kind of based on meetup actually a lot of it is through meetup and of course you’ve got health tech women and we have by far the most fun and exciting and educational events and but know that there’s fan on with them so if you type in digital health technology and health tech in to meet up you’ll get and first mattering of I suppose if I had an advice it

  • 18:01-18:36 would be to be exploring so I did nuro science and then moved into social science, health, economics whilst doing lots of exotic internships. Then I got more into tech and started investigating further research in data science. These are all really different spheres and I have done lots of different things professionally, and it’s because I’m constantly exploring. So, my bit of advice would be its ok not having a direction as long as you are trying different avenues then when you hit something you really like it will strike a cord and then you will know you are perusing the right direction. I think that would be my advice, always explore and always try something new.