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What does it mean to be a Health Economist?

Dhivya_Subramaniam

As part of our day in a life series exploring the different team roles here at ICHP, Health Economist, Dhivya Subramaniam shares her day with us.

I first open my eyes…
I tend to wake up between 6 and 7 am and check my phone for messages from my family and friends with a coffee in bed. I try to pop to a fitness class or go for a quick run (in terms of duration, not speed!) about 3 times a week. I’ve tried to give up buying breakfast on my journey into work but Pret’s avocado and egg baguettes really are the absolute best…

I’m responsible for…
I work in the Business Intelligence (BI) team on various health economics projects. I think I’ve yet to find my true niche but have managed to stumble into a number of AI-related projects both by chance and now, by choice.  Most of my projects have just taken off or are in the pipeline, so the momentum is starting to build up! Some examples include:

  • performing a baseline economic analysis of in-hospital deaths to help inform the business case for an accountable care system in end of life care
  • the use of AI to predict unplanned A&E admissions and evaluating its cost-effectiveness
  • performing evidence reviews to inform the revision of North West London CCG policies to produce commissioning efficiencies.

I’m about to embark on a project with Public Health England using cancer datasets to perform an economic evaluation of the current treatment strategies in cancers of unknown primary.

My path took me…
I trained in medicine (not my first choice career!) and had finished my core surgical training when I started feel that that I wanted to do something different to have a greater impact on patient care. My frontline experience in the NHS was invaluable in providing insight into the very real pressures faced by the system and their effects on patient care. I dabbled in various quality improvement activities and projects at the local hospital or departmental level but soon found that many of the changes didn’t stick and that it was all too easy for people to slip back into old habits. I decided then that to be a more effective clinician I would also need to diversify my skill set to be able to deliver sustainable, meaningful change within the NHS. I enrolled in a part-time Health Economics MSc at LSE and met the awesome Andi  who invited me to spend a day at ICHP and I am VERY glad I did!

My daily calendars reminders look like…
I usually have a meeting or two with clients and/or the team. Lunch is usually with the Innovation Advisors and/or the BI team which gives us a chance to catch up on each other’s lives. I try and do some work in between but am a night owl so tend to do some work at home in the evenings with Netflix on in the background. If I have a lot of work then I sometimes work from home and that’s usually when I’m most productive! There’s too much fun to be had at the office at times.

My most memorable work moment…
We hosted a really well attended recruitment event here at the ICHP offices that I helped to organise. Having the opportunity to share my experiences with potential new recruits really highlighted to me just how happy I am to be part of ICHP and how far I have come since my core surgical training.

My biggest groan about my job is…
Things can sometimes move really slowly with projects – the stakeholders are generally really busy so it’s hard to get all of them in the same room or teleconference to discuss next steps!

My best part of my job…
Everything about the team! I love the flat hierarchy, the way everyone genuinely cares about your learning and development and how helpful people are. Also, post-work pub time on Fridays.