Medical Data Analyst Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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Medical data analysts earn a median salary of around $55,035. Is this worth the education and training requirements? Learn the truth about the career outlook for this field and read job postings from real employers to decide if becoming a medical data analyst is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Medical Data Analyst

As a medical data analyst, you can play a vital role in ensuring that patient information remains secure, organized and easily accessible to authorized personnel. Following is a list of more pros and cons that can help you determine whether or not this profession is suitable for you.

Pros of Becoming a Medical Data Analyst
No direct patient care involved*
No certification or licensure required**
Good earning potential (highest percentage earned about $80,000 as of January 2016)***
Faster-than-average job growth for the field (15% projected from 2014-2024)*

Cons of Becoming a Medical Data Analyst
Many positions require several years of experience**
Usually requires sitting at computer station for long periods of time*
Typically requires strong skills in various software programs and tools**
May work evening or overnight shift in a 24-hour facility*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Job Postings for Dec 2012, ***PayScale.com

Career Information

Medical data analysts are health information technology professionals who are responsible for the accurate documentation of health records, secure transfer of patient files and maintenance of electronic health record (EHR) systems. These professionals typically work for hospitals, doctor's offices and health information management companies. Some job duties you may have in this role include encrypting, uploading and backing-up files, configuring and testing EHR systems and applications, implementing solutions for health information management problems, preparing reports and using structured query language (SQL) to design databases.

According to PayScale.com, most data analysts in general earned a salary ranging from about $38,000-$80,000, as of January 2016. Statistical data on the projected employment outlook specifically for medical data analysts were not available. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that from 2014-2024, medical records and health information technicians were expected to see a 15% increase in employment. One of the reasons for this growth was due to an adult population that is aging.

What Are Employers Looking For?

According to most job postings, you usually need to have a bachelor's degree to work as a medical data analyst. Some common majors for this occupation include computer science, information systems and health information management. According to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), medical data analysts need to have technical skills in areas such as data mining, data modeling and database designing. Employers also look for candidates with good programming skills and knowledge of statistics. Additionally, employers usually require that you have experience with computer programs such as Microsoft Access and Excel, Oracle PL/SQL, NextGen and Crystal Reports.

Job Postings from Real Employer

Most job postings showed that you typically need to have at least three years of related experience to become a medical data analyst. Job postings also revealed that many employers are looking for candidates with experience in SQL. Following is a list of postings that can give you some insight into what real employers were looking for during December of 2012.

  • A healthcare company in Michigan is looking for a data analyst to assist in managing health information. The candidate must have a bachelor's degree, preferably in information systems, at least three years of related work experience and familiarity with data encryption techniques. Job duties include maintaining insurance company and customer enrollment files, ensuring secure file transfer protocols, building data analysis tools and managing client expectations for timely data uploads.
  • A healthcare youth services company in Pennsylvania wants to hire a candidate with at least one year of experience in data warehouse management and a bachelor's degree in computer science. The candidate will be responsible for designing, coding and testing documentation, collecting data and creating reports. The candidate must also have experience with software programs such as Microsoft Excel, Oracle PL/SQL and Crystal Reports. The employer is offering $50,000 annually.
  • A California health systems organization is seeking a health data analyst with 3-5 years of experience in healthcare analytics and strong working knowledge of SQL. Job duties include developing data reporting definitions and standards, performing data modeling to analyze healthcare costs and identifying health data trends.
  • A private physician practice in Atlanta, GA, is looking for a data analyst with experience in SQL. The employer wants to hire someone with 3-7 years of experience and a 4-year degree. Job duties include configuring systems and applications, implementing file backups, writing SQL queries, performing data scrubbing and preparing reports.

How to Stand Out in the Field

You can gain a competitive advantage in this field by obtaining the Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA) credential from the AHIMA. You can become eligible for the CHDA exam if you have a 2-year degree and at least five years of experience, a 4-year degree and a minimum of 3 years of experience or a doctorate degree and 1 year of experience. If you have a current Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) or Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) certification from the AHIMA and 1-3 years of experience, you may also qualify for the CHDA examination.

Since a bachelor's degree is typically the minimum education required to become a medical data analyst, you can also stand out by completing a master's degree program in a related discipline. Some relevant programs you may consider include a Master of Science in Health Information Management, Health Informatics or Health Information Technology.

Other Careers to Consider

Medical Records Technician

You can also maintain patient information as a medical records technician. Although medical records technicians and medical data analysts share some similar job duties, the two positions are distinct from each other. For example, medical records technicians are generally responsible for coding and organizing data, while medical data analysts are responsible for configuring and implementing systems that store data. In addition, a postsecondary certificate is usually the minimum educational requirement for medical records technicians. As of May 2011, the BLS reported that medical records technicians earned a median salary of about $33,000.

Medical Transcriptionist

If you enjoy working with medical information, you might also consider becoming a medical transcriptionist. In this position, you will listen to audio files dictated by medical professionals to generate reports containing patient information. Your job will also include translating medical jargon and abbreviations, which requires having a good understanding of medical terminology. Most professionals who work in this field complete a medical transcription postsecondary training program, according to the BLS. As of May 2011, the BLS noted that medical transcriptionists earned a median wage of approximately $33,000. In the decade of 2010-2020, these professionals were expected to have a six percent growth in employment, according to the BLS.

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. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS in Health Care Quality
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Health Care Quality
  • Online Programs Available
    3. 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
    4. Ashford University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA/Health and Human Services - Health Care Informatics Systems
      • BS/Health Information Management
  • Online Programs Available
    5. 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
    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. The University of Scranton

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Health Informatics
      • MBA - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Health Administration
    Certificate
      • Health Informatics Certificate
      • Executive Certificate in Health Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    8. University of Delaware

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Health Care Administration
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. General Studies - Life Sciences
      • B.S. Healthcare Administration
    Associate's
      • A.S. General Studies - Life Sciences
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management

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?

The George Washington University

  • MSHS in Health Care Quality
  • Graduate Certificate in Health Care Quality

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?

Ashford University

  • BA/Health and Human Services - Health Care Informatics Systems
  • BS/Health Information Management

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?

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?

The University of Scranton

  • Master of Science in Health Informatics
  • MBA - Healthcare Management
  • Health Informatics Certificate
  • Executive Certificate in Health Administration

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University of Delaware

  • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Concentration

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