A health data analyst is tasked with examining and interpreting large sets of medical data in order to help organizational leaders develop strategies for healthcare delivery and for maintaining a successful business.
People who hold these positions must possess a deep understanding of data gathering, data storage and methods of data sharing. They are able to skillfully interpret datasets as they relate to their organization’s needs and goals.
Data derived from the efforts of a health data analyst is used to shape a company’s ongoing strategy and often will dictate real-time business tactics, as well.
The clinical operations and the financial practices of a company involved in the healthcare field intersect with the duties of a health data analyst. Data analysts must therefore possess knowledge and experience in business practices, as well as healthcare.
Job Growth & Salary
Health data analysis will experience a great deal of job growth in the next decade, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts. The most recent estimates provided by the BLS state that careers related to data gathering, data interpretation, data storage and the use of electronic health records are expected to grow by more than 15% through 2024 – twice as fast as the overall growth rate estimated for all professions.
One reason such jobs are expected to increase is the widespread use of electronic health records, which was mandated with the passage of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This accelerated the digitization of health records, thereby creating a rapidly growing and increasingly massive body of digital data produced by hospitals, clinics and small practices nationwide.
Even as the field of available healthcare analytics jobs expands, employers are beginning to zero in on the set of skills they expect their health data analysts to possess. These skills often include, but are not limited to:
- An expansive knowledge of structured query language (SQL)
- Knowledge of and experience with handling electronic medical records
- Knowledge of clinical trials processes and the data produced by them
- Experience with the Python programming language
- Experience working with systems developed by prominent health IT vendors.
Salaries for health data analysts generally are determined by the experience and education level of the candidate, in addition to the size and scope of the hiring organization. The BLS and research conducted by the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) listed the salary range from $37,000 to start to nearly $200,000 for high-level, highly experienced analysts in managerial positions.
Job listings for health data analysts might show up under different titles, including clinical data analyst, health informatics director, healthcare data analyst, health informatics consultant, clinical data manager and other, similar terms.
In addition to playing a lead role in interpreting existing data and developing processes for incorporating the findings into the overall company strategy, health data analysts often are expected to help discover ways to resolve service issues. The efficient, effective and cost-conscious delivery of healthcare is the goal, and finding ways to use data to do that is the job of the health data analyst.