Usher Institute

STUDY WITH US: Health Data Science course feedback from former students

A fully-funded Health Data Science Course has opened for a new year. Here is what our former students said about the course.

The Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) Health and Social Car Talent Programme, in collaboration with the Bayes Centre, has recently launched a new, fully funded Health Data Science Course, supported by the Scottish Funding Council. 

This course provides an introduction to key concepts, principles and methods of data science in healthcare, enabling students to explore the potential for data to transform healthcare. It is taught 100% online and is a flexible mode of study, allowing you to learn around your existing work or family commitments.

The majority of our students work while they study online with us.

This course is an excellent opportunity for participants to learn how to use current data science tools to process healthcare data for effective analysis and reporting, and gain practical hands-on experience working with data. Participants will also gain a critical understanding of the ethical and legal implications of working with healthcare data. 

Health and Social Care Talent Programme

Health Data Science Course - Sep 2022

Don’t just take our word for it! Here is what our certified participants thought:  

Dr James Balfour

Medical Doctor, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Western General Hospital

I really enjoyed the course and thought it was absolutely excellent that it was offered to healthcare professionals. I have personally found it extremely useful and the knowledge I gained from the course has helped me a huge amount at work.

Lorraine Adamson

Clinical Trials Administrator

I thoroughly enjoyed the course, and it felt a real bonus to be able to study fee-free. I am part of a clinical trials research team and was particularly interested in the ethics and governance issues in relation to data and found Dr Pagliari’s lectures and tutorials very relevant and thought-provoking. Some other colleagues on the research team also completed the course so we sometimes compared notes as to our progress. The issue of the data we hold, its storage and use, ethics and future use is of prime importance to us. Overall, the Health Data Science course was a positive and beneficial learning experience. It was well set-up and the tutors and content excellent. I don’t think I had quite appreciated the full complexities of data before this.

Dr Lawrence Li

Consultant Anaesthetist

The Health Data Science CPD Course was a great introduction into data science in healthcare as it gave a broad overview of relevant topics within the field and served well as a primer for those interested in learning to use R to work with data. Despite it being completely remote learning, the course was supported by an enthusiastic faculty and students were encouraged to discuss topics and help each other on the forum. The recorded materials and live sessions were of very high quality and expertly delivered to achieve the objectives.

Clare Macrae

Clinical Teacher, Usher Institute

I just want to say how completely fantastic the course is. It was a game changer for me; very good plan to have alternate weeks programming and then more general learning content because this allowed me to catch up on the programming which took a lot more time. Might make the ethics one week and spread to the programming, because these are the skills most difficult to gain without support. Many thanks again - I loved the course.

Elizabeth Masterson

It was a well structured course that covered the practicalities of coding in ‘R’ from the absolute beginning so was suitable for someone with minimal computer literacy and no prior coding experience. Straightforward week by week exercises online that easily fitted in with work timetable. The ethics and management of patient data storage and access was interesting, informative and relevant to how our organisation handles our own patient data and safeguards required. In general practice it has made me much more aware of coding of information that practices hold and what makes it useable (lots of ideas for QI projects). This had particular relevance this year for covid management including shielding decisions, vaccinations, disease tracking. More broadly, you gain knowledge about how government statistics are compiled and displayed allowing more informed conversations with patients. This was my first experience of a CPD online course. The funding available was what finalised my decision to enrol. I became much more motivated with work because I was understanding why decisions were made. I enjoyed the interaction online with the other students which helps you feel you are not doing this in isolation. Since this course I have invested in further learning and made career strides as a result. I could not rate the whole experience highly enough to anyone. My experience was overwhelmingly positive - I could go on with more detail than in the document, but great course, great teachers.

Carole Morris

I really enjoyed the course and not just because it was something to do in lockdown! It has been a while since I've had the opportunity to spend some time playing with health data after moving into a management role several years ago. This course provided me with insight into the way my team use R and the functionalities it provides to them in enhancing the way the ingest, manipulate, clean, analyse and present data. There are so many types of health data available to the research community which can take years to become familiar with. Recently I'm becoming more involved in supporting research projects that are using imaging and genomic sequencing data both of which were an unknown entity to me. The Health Data Science course explained both in a clear simple way to help understand the basic elements of both these data sources. The course was well delivered, the quizzes and assignments interesting and the tutorials offered the opportunities to engage with others on the course and ask questions. I would recommend this to anybody with an interest in understanding and using health data whether starting out in this field or as a refresher course to build or expand on what you already know.

Eilidh Gunn

I really enjoyed the course. It was so enjoyable and as I am now undertaking a PhD in Clinical Surgery I suspect that the skills I have learnt will be very useful for the rest of my career.

Graeme Hardie

I particularly enjoyed the modules on Network Modelling and Machine Learning - although they probably played to my IT background. It was great to learn a new programming language and interesting to see how quickly it could be used productively. I thought that the video presentations were great. The addition of transcripts of the videos certainly helped study. The content has helped me in my charity trustee role, although it is still limited to my personal role. I’m hopeful that, over time, I can encourage development of such skills within the charity itself. I’m also hoping I can encourage the charity to adopt the use of R. I found the availability of NHS Scotland open data very interesting and subsequently searched for such open data on MND but without success. I’m now agitating for such data to be available and I am encouraged by developments in the USA where a collaboration of MND research centres are now publishing open data. I intend to use some of the R learning from the course to help me explore that data.


I enjoyed the course and would certainly recommend it to a colleague. It gave me a better understanding of the health data science that is relevant to my clinical practice. Working with R was challenging but rewarding, and encouraged me to look into further training in this area.