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Drashko Nakikj, PhD

Research Fellow in Biomedical Informatics

Biography

Drashko Nakikj graduated from the PhD program at the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Columbia University, where he was advised by Dr. Lena Mamykina. Under her supervision he did research on two types of software tools: ones that support knowledge sharing in clinical settings and others that help patients get information of interest from, and make sense of, long discussions in online health forums, while at the same time stimulating social connections between the participants. As a postdoctoral researcher at DBMI in Nils Gehlenborg’s lab, Nakikj is extending his previous knowledge about tools that support making sense of complex medical data to design, develop and evaluate data visualization tools. These tools not only support individual sensemaking for patients and clinicians, but also serve as a platform for improved communication between both parties. His work is in two projects:

  1. The Discovery system, part of the Sync for Science (S4S) project. The goal of the S4S project is to enable patients to contribute their medical health records information from multiple providers to researchers for discovering new medical knowledge and creating public health policies. Discovery is leveraging this unique opportunity, allowing the patients to explore their contributed medical information to get a better awareness of their health condition and history, improve planning their care according to the available resources, and get prepared for better communication with their providers. Nikikj is designing and developing an AI module that assists in the users’ sensemaking process by helping them construct queries and recommending relevant queries based on their previous interactions with the system and the interactions of others, as well as securing data visualization-based answers in an easily comprehendible way for general populations.

  2. A data-driven informed consent tool for surgical procedures. This tool allows for personalized risk assessment based on patient’s medical history and visually communicates the risks in a more understandable way to the patients, stimulating deeper discussion with the surgeon and thus contributing to shared decision making with regards to the surgical procedure. Nikikj is responsible for the evaluation of the tool and tying the feedback back into its design to make additional improvements and enable integration in the current clinical workflow.

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