Healthcare Data Analyst Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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The national average salary for health data analysis managers is about $77,000. Is it worth the training requirements? See real job descriptions and get the truth about career prospects to find out if becoming a healthcare data analyst is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Healthcare Data Analyst Career

As a healthcare data analyst, you deal with numbers related to the fields of medicine and operational efficiency and might work in areas like supply dispersal, claims processing and quality of treatment. Have a look at some of the pros and cons below to help you decide if a career in healthcare analysis is a good fit.

Pros of Being a Healthcare Data Analyst
Able to work with numbers to assist in providing healthcare to the public*
Good working conditions with regular work hours*
Job security (about 27% growth between 2012-2022)*
May qualify with a bachelor's degree*

Cons of Being a Healthcare Data Analyst
Can be somewhat stressful (may have to meet deadlines)*
Most employers prefer to promote those who have a master's degree*
Some positions may require extensive travel*
Must have broad organizational knowledge and communication skills**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **American Health Information Management Association.

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't offer a profile on the career of healthcare data analyst. However, it does offer one on the broader career of 'operations research analyst'. Much of the career information for operations research analyst can be applied to that of healthcare data analyst. In brief, the job entails the acquisition, management, manipulation and analysis of data specifically related to the healthcare industry.

Through the extensive use of computers, healthcare data analysts compile information from patient records, hospital inventories, billing and insurance records and other relevant areas. They must identify trends and patterns in department performances. Problem areas, such as duplication and accuracy of cost figures, are identified. From captured and reported data, analysts develop databases that are used to generate performance reports and projections. This is done with an eye towards improving the effectiveness of the administration of services to healthcare providers, patients and insurers. The job may also entail staff development and training in the accumulation, use and reporting of accurate statistics.

Salary and Employment Information

According to the BLS, employment opportunities for operations research analysts were expected to increase 27% during 2012-2022, and this employment group includes health care data analysts. The median annual wage for operations research analysts was about $77,000, as determined by the BLS in 2014.

What Are the Requirements?

Education Requirements

With a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in a subject such as business, you may be able to secure an entry-level position as a healthcare data analyst. Because the position deals with the management and manipulation of figures, your undergraduate curriculum should include instruction in areas such as mathematics, statistics and basic computer science. However, much like employers looking to hire operations research analysts, those seeking healthcare data analysts prefer applicants with a master's degree. Some typical recommended areas of concentration include biostatistics, health informatics, public health, nursing or computer science.

Skill and Experience Requirements

Employers usually look for someone who has at least two years of work experience in healthcare data analysis and reporting. You should be able to demonstrate competence in:

  • Structural query language (SQL) coding
  • Statistical analysis software base programming
  • PowerPoint
  • Excel
  • Health effectiveness data and information set measurement
  • Hyperion
  • Crystal Reports

What Employers are Looking for

Aside from experience in the field and the appropriate degree, employers look for candidates with analytical skills, an ability to prioritize when solving problems and a knack for strategic planning. Interpersonal communications skills are important because of the teamwork necessary in the implementation of policies based on amassed data. Though it might seem contradictory, healthcare analysts should be creative and able to think outside the box to resolve unexpected or difficult situations. Below are some examples of job postings found in April 2012:

  • A center for Medicare and Medicaid services in Oklahoma is looking for a healthcare data analyst. The position entails monitoring data trends, performing statistical analyses and writing reports to help the center meet contract requirements. Applicants should have 2-3 years of qualifying experience, be computer proficient and hold a master's degree in biostatistics or a related field.
  • A California healthcare system that specializes in services for senior citizens is seeking a healthcare data analyst. Applicants should have at least four years of work experience in the field. Primary duties include the development of data definitions of patients with chronic diseases, reporting HEDIS measures and the development of production reports.
  • A healthcare data analyst is needed by a Maryland health group. Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree and have at least three years of experience using relational databases. Responsibilities include researching data from internal and external sources, analyzing that data and preparing management reports focused on care and utilization costs.
  • The Massachusetts branch of a national insurance company wants to hire a health data analyst with a minimum of three years of experience in healthcare data analysis and reporting. Though a bachelor's degree is acceptable, the employer prefers applicants who hold a master's degree in a field such as biostatistics, nursing or public health. Applicants should have experience with HEDIS measurement and SAS and SQL programming.
  • A not-for-profit charitable firm in New York is looking for a health informatics analyst. Applicants should have 3-5 years of experience analyzing healthcare data using SQL. A bachelor's degree is acceptable, but the employer prefers to hire someone with a master's degree in health informatics, healthcare, computer science or a related field. Duties include creating reports for all health services programs, with a particular focus on clinic quality improvement.

How Can I Stand out?

Among the most important things you can do to set yourself apart from competitors is to develop your analytical skills. To do so, consider becoming familiar with as many programs relating to data analysis in general and health data analysis in particular. You can demonstrate your expertise by becoming SQL, Business Objects or SAS certified.

There is no mandatory certification requirement to work as a healthcare data analyst. However certification can help you stand out in the field. It can open the door for initial employment, career advancement and improve your chances of favorable job mobility. You can be come a certified health data analyst (CHDA) through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). If you meet one of several eligibility criteria, which include education and experience requirements, you may be eligible to sit for the AHIMA-administered certification examination.

Alternative Career Paths

Medical and Health Services Manager

If a career as a healthcare data analyst does not sound right for you, consider working as a medical and health service manager. These professionals plan, coordinate and direct the operation and delivery of healthcare services. Analytical, interpersonal communication, technical and problem-solving skills are of primary importance to medical and health services managers. Though you may qualify for a position with a bachelor's degree, some facilities call for a master's degree. The BLS projected that employment opportunities for medical and health services managers would increase 22% during 2010-2020. In 2011, according to the BLS, the mean annual salary for healthcare administrators was about $86,000.

Operation Research Analyst

If the idea of working with statistics and figures appeals to you, but working in the medical field does not, you might consider becoming an operation research analyst. These positions are available in the scientific community, as well as in the manufacturing, finance and insurance industries. They are also available at government agencies or independent consulting firms. Using statistical analysis, optimization and simulations, operations analysts arrive at plausible solutions to problems, compile reports of their findings and submit recommendations to management. The BLS expected that employment opportunities for operations research analysts would increase 15% during 2010-2020. In 2011, the mean annual wage for operations research analysts was roughly $72,000.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
      • Master of Science in Health Informatics
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Health Informatics
      • Master: Management/Health Care Mgmt
      • Master of Healthcare Admin
      • Master: Nursing/Nurse Educator
      • Master: Nursing/Nurse Administrator
      • MS in Nursing
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Health Information Management
      • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    3. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant
  • Online Programs Available
    5. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
      • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
      • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences
      • MSHS in Translational Microbiology
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    Master's
      • MS in Health Care Informatics
      • MS in Nursing: Health Care Informatics
      • MBA: Health Systems Management
      • MS in Health Care Administration
      • Master of Public Administration - Health Care Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
      • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
      • BS in Health Care Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Project Management
    Associate's
      • Associate: Health Information Management
      • Associate: Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Saint Joseph's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Health Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Health Care Admin
      • PhD in Business Admin - Health Care Admin
    Master's
      • MS - Organizational Leadership: Health Care Administration
  • Campus and Online Programs
    10. South University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Nursing with a specialization in Nursing Informatics (MSN)
      • RN to Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Nursing Informatics (RN to MSN)
      • Healthcare Administration (MBA)
      • Healthcare Administration (MHA)
    Bachelor's
      • Healthcare Management (BS)

Featured Schools

George Mason University

  • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
  • Master of Science in Health Informatics

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • Master of Health Informatics
  • Master: Management/Health Care Mgmt
  • BS in Health Information Management
  • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin

Which subject are you interested in?

American University

  • Master of Science in Healthcare Management

What is your highest level of education?

Keiser University

  • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant

What is your highest level of education?

The George Washington University

  • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
  • Graduate Certificate in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
  • MS in Health Care Informatics
  • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
  • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Project Management
  • Associate: Health Information Management
  • Associate: Healthcare Management

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Joseph's University

  • MS in Health Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?