Calling All Data Mongers—Consider a Career as a Health Data Analyst

This monthly blog will highlight and discuss emerging trends and challenges related to healthcare data and its ever changing life cycle.


By Lesley Kadlec, MA, RHIA, CHDA

If you are reading this blog post, you have probably already figured out that data analytics is complex. Understanding data analytics is like the proverbial peeling back of the onion skin, the more layers you take off, the more layers you find underneath.

In today’s healthcare environment where healthcare professionals are becoming more knowledgeable about managing digital processes through the application of health information technology, it has become essential for healthcare organizations to derive value from the wealth of clinical and operational data that is being collected, stored, and disseminated through the process of care delivery.

Health data analytics professionals connect distinct pieces of data and transform them into something understandable. They convert the data into information through developing reports and dashboards which healthcare organizations can then use to drive business decisions and optimize efficiency. Health data analysts who earn the AHIMA Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA) designation achieve recognition of their expertise in health data analysis and demonstrate their mastery of this domain.

Healthcare executives are beginning to recognize that they require business intelligence for their day-to-day decisions. Examining how data interrelates enhances their ability to tie data to organizational performance and drive strategy. By applying the skills of data collection, reporting, and dissemination, health data analysts can ultimately optimize the delivery of care for the healthcare organization and lead the path to business intelligence.

Analytics will likely be a coveted “job of the future” in healthcare and will create a wealth of new opportunities for trained data analyst professionals who can apply their skills to the healthcare ecosystem.

So whether you are a data monger, a database diva, or a report writing aficionado, the future has never been brighter for health data analysts. The drive to deriving information from data will create unlimited potential for health data analysts, so now is the time to take your analysis skills to the next level by obtaining a CHDA certification.

Lesley Kadlec, MA, RHIA, CHDA, currently serves as a director of HIM practice excellence at AHIMA. In her role, Kadlec provides professional expertise on EHRs, transcription, and multiple facets of HIM operations in the hospital setting as well as large and small physician practices. She focuses on HIM standards, information governance, informatics, data analytics, and industry best practice. She advocates on current and emerging issues that impact various facets of HIM.

6 Comments

  1. what are the prerequisites to start out to be cert. in CHDA Certification?

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    • My dream was to complete by AS in HIT and sit the RHIT. Once that was accomplished I was going for my BS so I could strive for the CHDA certification. But my dreams may never be realized due to the new Department of Educations requirement that you must pass Intermediate Algebra or above to even get your AS degree. Technically this should have never been an issue except for the fact I took my math and english at my local college and was not “continuosly” enrolled at the College I started my HIT program so I automatically feel under the new requirements. I am not alone in this struggle and can not understand why the Education system mandated something we all know will never be used in the real world. I may NEVER fulfill my dream because of it.

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      • Dear Carol,
        Don’t give up your dream! Your struggle with algebra may require a tutor to get you through it, but you can do it!

        We don’t solve algebra problems every day, true; but we do use it every day, technically speaking. Algebra trains your brain to think logically and rationally, which is something you need to get the CHDA. It also helps you with common sense decisions. If math is not your thing, that’s understandable. But you can get through it.

        I believe you also need a statistics course for the CHDA, since dealing with data involves quite a lot of statistics. If math isn’t you thing, you may need to re-assess whether the CHDA is really a goal for you. The RHIT will cover quite a lot of domains as you progress through the courses. Be open, and you might be surprised what hits you as the best thing for you. 🙂

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        • Sorry, I meant RHIT in that second paragraph. “Algebra trains your brain to think logically and rationally, which is something you need to get the RHIT.”

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  2. WHAT IS A HEALTH DATA ANALYST. CAN THIS JOB DESCRIPTION BE EXPLAINED, PLEASE? DOES THIS INVOLVE ICD-10 CODING OR ANY CODING AND/OR IS THIS A CODING POSITION.

    I’v SEEN JOB POSITIONS FOR DATA QUALITY ANALYST AND ANALYST HIM RELATED JOBS, BUT THEY HAVE ALL BEEN DESCRIBED AS A CODING POSITION. I SEE THERE ARE DIFFERENT CERTIFICAIONS FOR THIS. CHDA. MAY BE IT IS NOT CODING, BUT WHAT DO THEY DO??

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