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Leveraging AI in Healthcare

Ayla Commet is applying the lessons she learned in the MPD2 program to her new job as a senior product manager at Digital Diagnostics, where she is using artificial intelligence to help diagnose eye and skin diseases.

Ayla Commet (MPD2 '23) is not shy about her love for designing and developing products. While  carving a niche within the healthcare industry, her passion for problem solving has only grown. 

"It’s so powerful to dig deep and define a problem, work through many ways to solve it, and get to release a product that makes people’s lives easier," she said. "Working in medical devices really adds to this satisfaction, as any way we can speed up healthcare, make it more affordable, or provide new and more accurate tools is a win for a better future." 

Ayla CommetCommet spent six years working toward that goal at Zimmer Biomet, where she was a product owner and later a product manager for mixed and augmented reality. In December, she transitioned to a new role as senior product manager at Digital Diagnostics, a healthcare technology company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to diagnose eye and skin diseases. 

Commet is working on the company's LumineticsCore product, an AI diagnostic system that autonomously diagnoses patients for diabetic retinopathy and macular edema.

"I’m excited for this new position as I enjoy working on new and upcoming technology and applying it to healthcare," she said. "Using something like AI in healthcare has the potential to make care quicker and more affordable, something we’re already seeing."

Commet credits Northwestern Engineering's Master of Product Design and Development Management (MPD2) program with helping her recognize that potential — as well as her own. While working at Zimmer Biomet, Commet wanted to dive deeper into the intricacies of the business side of product development without straying too far from her technical foundation. 

MPD2 allowed her to do that.

"It’s important as a product manager to understand the whole product cycle from start to finish, and I appreciated how MPD2 allowed us to do just that," she said. "Some classes had us push our creative boundaries while others were more business or engineering oriented. It made me a much more well-rounded product manager." 

Numerous MPD2 classes helped hone her skills.

Commet credited Business Model Design with helping provide that complete view of creating a product. Accounting and Finance helped her better understand business language and how to communicate with cross functional teams. Supply Chain helped her better comprehend fulfillment processes and see how other products in her company impacted customers. 

“Each class I took, I was immediately able to apply what I was learning in some way, shape, or form,” she said. “My boss even commented on how I was becoming more business minded as I went through the program.” 

Now in her new role, Commet is excited to once again apply what she learned in MPD2 as she continues to try and use technology to help improve healthcare. 

"I’ve always been more focused on the upstream of improving the product, but MPD2 helped me consider the effects my product had on the company as a whole," she said. "Instead of just making a good product, understanding how a product fits into a company's portfolio, how it makes money, and how it affects other parts of the company is so important."

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