Why All Healthcare Professionals Need to Learn Data Analytics

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


By Lesley Clack, ScD

 

With the growing popularity of data analytics, it may sound intuitive to say that all healthcare professionals need to learn data analytics. However, in teaching healthcare students and working with administrators and clinicians, it is clear that many healthcare professionals consider data analytics to be solely a health information management (HIM) or health informatics professional function. So, why would a non-HIM professional want to learn data analytics? Or, why would a HIM professional want to learn or enhance their data analytic skills?

1. There is no Shortage of Data in Healthcare

To start with, there is an overabundance of data in healthcare, ranging from publicly available data to data available internally within electronic health record systems. Organizations need to understand how to analyze and utilize this data in order to be successful.

2. Data is Needed for Decision-Making

Data is the key for making good clinical decisions. Through analyzing data, we can study trends, compare past performance to current performance, and use this information to develop good business strategies.

3. Organizations Recognize the Importance of Data Analytics

Organizations are prioritizing the importance of data analytics. This means that organizations need professionals trained in data analytics. Thus, learning data analytics skills or enhancing your data analytics skills could lead to an increase in the job opportunities available.

4. Enhance Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills

Data analytics is really just another tool in the toolbox of skills that we have available. Analyzing data is simply another method of solving a problem, through critically evaluating and analyzing the data to come up with the best possible solution.

5. Data Analytics is Everywhere

Since data is everywhere, analytics is everywhere. Data analytics is a function that is used in all types of organizations within a large variety of industries. And, it’s not going anywhere. Data analytics is only going to increase in importance as we continue to advance technologically.

Getting Engaged with Data Analytics

So, how do we engage healthcare professionals in data analytics? It starts by having organizations and leaders that understand the importance of knowing how to analyze data. In addition, education and training about how analytics skills can be used within the organization to enhance job functions are essential. There are a wealth of resources available to get started. AHIMA has excellent workshops, certifications, and training materials for any level, from beginner all the way up to advanced analytics professionals. Learning or enhancing skills never hurts, and it’s never too late to start.

 

Lesley Clack (lesley.clack@uga.edu) is an assistant professor of health policy and management at the University of Georgia.

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