Unlocking Insights for Healthcare Excellence: The Vital Role of a Healthcare Business Analyst

Unlocking Insights for Healthcare Excellence: The Vital Role of a Healthcare Business Analyst

Unlocking Insights for Healthcare Excellence: The Vital Role of a Healthcare Business Analyst banner

Interested in the business side of healthcare? If so, then a career as a healthcare business analyst might be right up your alley. By working as a healthcare business analyst, you’ll be able to help medical staff and their patients alike by optimizing facility operations, ensuring compliance, improving patient care, and much more.

So, what exactly does a healthcare business analyst do—and how do you get into this challenging yet rewarding line of work? Let’s dive in.

WHAT DOES A HEALTHCARE BUSINESS ANALYST DO?

In general, a healthcare business analyst is a professional who is hired by a medical facility (such as a hospital or physician’s office) to keep the business side of operations running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Oftentimes, healthcare business analysts draw on their experience with finance, information technology (IT), and data analysis to help healthcare organizations gain insights into their operations, spending, and other vital aspects of running a facility.

While the exact roles and responsibilities of a healthcare business analyst can vary from one facility to the next, there are some general functions that most professionals in this role are expected to carry out.

Gathering and Analyzing Healthcare Data

One of the most essential roles of a healthcare business analyst is that of collecting and making sense of healthcare data—often in large amounts. Also known as health informatics, this process involves everything from ensuring the secure handling of healthcare data to maintaining databases and performing data reporting/analysis.

Healthcare facilities generate large amounts of data on a regular basis, so it is crucial for healthcare business analysts to help these facilities better track, store, and interpret their data to make sound business decisions.

Identifying Operational Inefficiencies

In addition to assisting with data and business analytics, analysts also have a responsibility to help healthcare facilities identify and overcome operational inefficiencies. Using their business analytics skills, these professionals can assess how these facilities are being run and what changes can be made to improve efficiency.

For many healthcare facilities, this means looking closely at staffing and spending, as well as making specific recommendations to run things more cost-effectively and efficiently. For example, a healthcare business analyst may recommend that a facility switch to a different medical equipment supplier as a means of saving money. Likewise, they may suggest changes to overtime policies or scheduling to enhance operational efficiency while optimizing a facility’s budget.

Enhancing Patient Experience

At the end of the day, any recommendations that a healthcare business analyst makes must be made with the patient in mind. This is often one of the most challenging aspects of a healthcare business analyst’s job. As easy as it may be to suggest operational changes from a business standpoint, these professionals must also understand the impact that these changes can have on the overall patient experience and quality of patient care.

The best healthcare business analysts are those who can help facilities operate more cost-effectively and efficiently without sacrificing the quality of care. This requires them to be in regular communication with healthcare providers, including physicians and nurses, to get a better understanding of how different business decisions may affect operations.

Supporting Healthcare Decision-Making

While healthcare business analysts aren’t the ones directly responsible for making decisions within a healthcare facility or organization, they generally are the ones making recommendations for higher-ups (including facility managers). These higher-ups rely heavily on reports and insights from healthcare business analysts to make sound decisions when it comes to operations, spending, budgeting, and more. In this sense, healthcare business analysts empower managers, supervisors, and other medical professionals to make smart decisions daily.

Implementing Healthcare Technology Solutions

These days, there are more healthcare technology solutions available than ever before—each making the promise that they will save facilities money, improve operations, or both. A healthcare business analyst can help facilities decide which technologies are best suited for their needs and budgets while also assisting with implementation.

A healthcare business analyst, for example, might recognize ongoing issues with data management within a small physician’s office. Based on the office’s unique needs and budget, this same analyst may be able to recommend and help implement a new data management platform that will streamline operations while improving the facility’s bottom line.

Ensuring Compliance and Communication

Compliance and communication must be at the forefront of any healthcare business analyst’s everyday work. When it comes to handling data, medical facilities must follow strict regulations based on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). A lack of compliance can result in severe fines and other problems for medical facilities, which is why facilities of all sizes often turn to healthcare business analysts to ensure that they are operating within compliance. This is especially true when it comes to the handling of sensitive patient data, including patient records and other health information.

Healthcare business analysts, then, must be familiar with the ins and outs of HIPAA law while staying on top of changes as they arise.

HEALTHCARE BUSINESS ANALYST SALARY

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for medical and health services managers is expected to grow by 28 percent from 2022 to 2032. This is much faster than the projected average for all occupations, meaning the demand for these professionals will grow in the coming years. For those who are considering a career in healthcare business analysis, now is a great time to start taking the first steps.

The salary can vary based on many factors, including years of experience, certification, qualifications, and level of education. The median annual wage for medical and health services managers was $104,830 in May 2022.

HOW TO BECOME A HEALTHCARE BUSINESS ANALYST

Interested in a career as a healthcare business analyst? There are a few steps you’ll need to take to get started.

Obtain Relevant Education

Most medical facilities looking to hire a healthcare business analyst will be looking for candidates with a minimum of a bachelor of science degree, preferably in a related field (such as healthcare administration). This type of program typically takes around four years to complete. In some cases, an MBA in healthcare management or a related field may be preferred.

Develop Business Analysis and Technical Skills

Aspiring healthcare business analysts will need to develop some business analysis and technical skills to be considered for this type of work. For example, most employers look for candidates with a background in statistics, data science, or other analytical fields that will help them perform their jobs. Likewise, having some solid technical skills under your belt can help set you apart from other candidates. Some common technical skills that employers may prefer when hiring a healthcare business analyst include: 

  • Knowledge of statistical applications to biomedical and health-related fields.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheet tools for decision-making.
  • Development of data visualization graphics to represent complex medical statistics.
  • Measuring data and managing performance to improve healthcare quality.
  • Employing methods of measuring, managing, and improving healthcare quality.

Gain Experience

While some smaller medical facilities may be willing to hire entry-level healthcare business analysts with minimal hands-on experience, most will give preference during the hiring process to those who have some actual work experience under their belts.

One way to secure some work experience before you enter the field is to explore a school or university with a program that includes career and professional development services. This way, you can further open the doors of opportunity by gaining practical experience before you complete your degree.

Having specific experience working in a healthcare setting can differentiate you from your competition when it comes time to apply for jobs in the field. This can also help you enter the workforce with a greater sense of knowledge and confidence.

Network and Find Career Opportunities

As with many career paths in business, achieving success is all about networking and who you know. As you prepare to apply for healthcare business analyst jobs, then, it’s critical to network and explore your career opportunities as much as possible. If you can, try to attend industry events (such as trade shows and conferences), which can provide you with some valuable insights into the field. Likewise, you can make some great connections at these events—which can help you discover new career opportunities.

Don’t underestimate the power of social media when it comes to networking as a healthcare business analyst, either. Platforms like LinkedIn make it easy for you to connect with others in your field while publishing your own articles and posts, helping you establish yourself as a thought leader while building your reputation as a knowledgeable healthcare business analyst.

EMBARK ON YOUR HEALTHCARE BUSINESS ANALYST JOURNEY TODAY

Working as a healthcare business analyst can be a great way to put your analytical and problem-solving skills to work while improving patient care and work conditions for medical staff. While the responsibilities of a healthcare business analyst can be complex and challenging, many of these hardworking professionals find the work extremely rewarding.

If you’re interested in a career as a healthcare business analyst, then a quality education can be a great stepping stone. Johnson & Wales College of Professional Studies Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration offers a 100 percent online, career-focused curriculum that can be completed in as little as four years. Upon completion of this program, you’ll have the skills you need to become an expert in data analysis and healthcare operations.

For more information about completing your degree online, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].

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