15 Sep 2023

In continuation of our spotlight interview series, we’re excited to introduce our readers to Mila Khalitova, Data Scientist!  

Since her arrival at BulletinHealthcare in 2020, Mila has played a pivotal role in connecting our advertising clients with their target audiences and assisting them in making data-driven decisions. Her vast knowledge of data science and management of intricate computations and vast datasets have made her an integral part of our team. 

Read on to hear from Mila! 

Can you share more about your role as a Data Scientist? 

Mila: Broadly speaking, I connect our advertising clients with their audiences, and help them understand each other. This includes finding doctors that might be interested in the client’s product, analyzing campaign data, prescription recommendation trends, sometimes surveying HCPs, and then connecting the dots for the client and making recommendations related to their marketing strategy. A huge part of this type of work happens behind the scenes and involves complex computations and processing enormous amounts of data, which, in turn, requires engineering and maintenance efforts, and that’s also a part of my job.

What were your ventures prior to joining the Cision Insights team? 

Mila: My background is in marketing and public relations, so all my previous work was related to it. Before joining Cision back in 2019, I completed my PhD in Mass Communications at the University of Florida. Before that I led a marketing team for an internet service provider.

What initially drew you to data science? 

Mila: When I was working in marketing, I really enjoyed doing customer research and campaign analytics, and this is why I decided to pursue a research degree in the first place. While doing my PhD, I took several classes in advanced statistics and data mining and I felt like this was the future of marketing analytics and I also really liked doing it, so I decided to pursue it as a career path. 

How has the healthcare vertical been different from working with other verticals? 

Mila: What really amazes me about healthcare in the United States is how open and transparent this industry is compared to what I’ve seen in other countries. Enormous amounts of data are freely available to the public, starting from the general information about healthcare professionals and ending with open payments reports and itemized prescription datasets. With just some basic data skills, there are so many things we can learn about the industry!

Can you provide more insight for our readers about how you analyze and segment audience data to ensure advertisements reach the correct target demographics? 

Mila: Our briefings are subscription-based and delivered to the members of professional medical associations, which means we receive first-hand information about our recipients that is updated regularly – often daily. Most of our advertisers target their audience via NPI numbers, and that’s when the magic of data science begins. We’ve built a matching algorithm that takes all the information provided to us by a doctor who receives our briefing (things like name, address, specialty and so on), and tries to match it with a specific NPI number from the NPI database. So far, the algorithm has matched about 70%, or about 700,000, of our unique recipients with high certainty, and that’s something we are proud of.

Can you share more about BulletinHealthcare’s targeting capabilities? 

Mila: We are currently targeting by specialty, geographic location, prescription history, medical procedures performed, conditions diagnosed, or by any combination of these criteria. We are also able to find targets who work at a specific hospital or in all hospitals with a specific trait or specialization. In addition, we are also building a database for other workplaces, such as pharmacies, dental offices and other small practices, and we are hoping it goes live next year.

How do you stay up to date with the latest technological advancements?  

Mila: Primarily by reading articles on platforms dedicated to data science. At Cision, we also have a Machine Learning/Data Science (MLDS) where we read and discuss recently published research in the field with our colleagues from other business units. Cision incorporates many different businesses and having exposure to what other people in the company are doing, and learning from them is a huge benefit of working for a large company.

Outside of work, what hobbies or activities do you enjoy? 

Mila: My main hobby is traveling. I always wanted to travel the world and live in different countries. So far, I’ve visited 20 countries and lived in three. I also like growing house plants, but this is something I picked up a year ago or so. I have about 20 plants in my house and some on the porch outside.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers? 

Mila: I really enjoy planning, measurement, and optimization, not only at work but also in all other areas of my life. I’ve recently got a board game that’s called “Wingspan”, and I am totally obsessed with it. This is an engine building game with a limited number of turns and resources, which means that at every turn, not only do you need to maximize your resources, but also improve the efficiency of your card sequence for the next turn, so you can get even more resources than what you’ve got now. And that’s exactly how I approach life in general, although “resources” don’t necessarily mean something material. Anyway, if you are like me, I strongly recommend this game!

To learn more, or if you have a question of your own for Mila, we’d love to get connected!