Are you interested in pursuing a business career in the health care field? If so, there are a wide variety of occupations you can pursue. These occupations allow you to apply your knowledge, skills and experience to improving medical facilities and their patient services. From finance to supply chain management, business-savvy professionals play a key role in hospital administration, helping keep costs low while ensuring that caregivers can provide the highest-quality services possible.
One such role is that of a health care business analyst, whose primary responsibilities include locating areas of improvement and maximizing medical facilities’ performance and profit. But what do health care business analysts’ job descriptions look like, what qualifications are needed and how can students gain a competitive edge during the application process? One of the key steps is to obtain the right education, such as an online MS in Business Analytics.
Health Care Business Analyst Roles and Responsibilities
The primary goal of a health care business analyst is to gather, analyze and interpret health care data. The objective is to generate actionable insights that help health care facilities operate with greater economic efficiency. They use their specialized knowledge in data analysis, management, finance and IT systems to collect data and gain insight into various aspects of an organization, such as reducing operating costs and improving operational procedures in a cost-effective manner.
Health care business analysts then use that data to recommend new processes and strategies to improve efficiency. These recommendations can include reorganizations, adjustments to billing procedures, and controlling supply costs and overtime wages. Occasionally, those in the role may have to present their findings and recommendations to executive decision makers. Ultimately, the insights of health care business analysts help empower physicians, hospital administrators and clinical staff to make sound decisions that positively impact the bottom line without sacrificing the quality of patient care.
There is, of course, a major difference between entry-level health care business analysts jobs and those that require years of experience in real-world settings. When first starting out, business analysts are often assigned tasks that relate to a specific area of medical operations. Additionally, any solutions they develop need to be formally vetted by upper management before taking action. For example, if a health care business analyst was asked to look into reducing supply costs, they would first need approval to negotiate with vendors or switch to a different provider. As professionals advance their careers, however, they tend to have more oversight and control over their organizations’ financial decisions.
Steps to Become a Health Care Business Analyst
Pursuing a health care business analyst career usually begins with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, health care management or a related field. These types of undergraduate degrees offer insight into how businesses (including medical facilities and health care organizations) optimize their operations, service quality and long-term profitability. Candidates with a Master of Science in Business Analytics are often better positioned to take on senior roles involving big data analysis, which are growing in demand thanks to the rapid expansion of health care technologies.
Those who are pursuing a health care business analyst career are also entering a field that is poised for growth. According to a recent study produced by Polaris Market Research, the health care analytics market value hit about $27 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of about 8% between 2020 and 2028. This data confirms that health care companies need talented and driven business professionals to help improve patient outcomes, streamline back-end administrative tasks and integrate value-adding IT into medical settings.
Since a health care business analyst sometimes acts as a mediator between other business professionals and medical staff, communication and interpersonal skills are essential. Business analysts must also be able to manage their schedules effectively and identify actionable solutions to time-sensitive problems. This is often achieved through the use of advanced data analysis tools and IT systems, making a strong foundation in business technologies crucial for building a successful career. The more experience an applicant has with health care data and reporting tools, the more competitive they will be during their job hunt.
Graduate students with a focus on business analytics sometimes struggle to gain real-world experience in health care settings, which can make it challenging to compete for health care business analyst jobs. While having experience in effective budgeting, operations management and financial controls can help applicants stand out, some employers may prioritize candidates who have at least some health care experience.
One way students can bridge the gap is to prioritize health care-related courses during their graduate studies. Seeking out internship opportunities at local medical facilities may also provide an inside look at how business professionals actively support the work of clinical caregivers.
Health Care Analyst Career Path
Those seeking to become health care analysts are entering a robust and growing industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 15% job growth for the health care industry between 2019 and 2029. This makes a health care analyst career particularly enticing, as this growth can provide an opportunity to invite new, fresh perspectives to care delivery.
While health care analysts often work in settings such as hospitals or private practices, they can also apply their skills within health insurance companies, health care consulting firms, nonprofit health care organizations and government organizations.
While certification isn’t required for most health care analyst positions, it can help individuals showcase specific expertise and stand out from the competition. Among the many available data analytics certifications are the Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP), Open Certified Data Scientist and IBM Data Science Professional Certificate.
Health Care Business Analyst Salary and Job Outlook
While the BLS doesn’t report separate data for health care business analysts, their projections for management analysts (including business analysts) show an expected 11% job growth between 2019 and 2029. This is much faster than the national average for all occupations.
The demand for these professionals is particularly strong in the health care field, however. One main factor driving this growth is the aging U.S. population that is consuming more health care services, contributing to higher facility costs. The shifting regulatory environment in the American health insurance industry is also forcing companies to onboard more business analysts to help navigate complex health care-client relationships.
In terms of compensation, the BLS reports that management analysts had a median salary of $87,660 in May 2020. The lowest 10% of earners earned around $50,990, while the highest 10% took home more than $156,840.
Since health care business analysts are able to apply their skills in various business areas, it’s useful to consider salary expectations for more specialized positions. For example, financial analysts earn a median wage of $83,660 per year, while IT security analysts take home $103,590 annually. This variability helps demonstrate how specific health care business analyst roles can have very different outcomes, making careful career planning essential to any job seeker’s long-term success.
Launch Your Career as a Health Care Business Analyst
If you’re interested in a business analyst career but are unsure of where to start, the online MSBA program at University of Nevada, Reno may be the stepping-stone you’ve been looking for.
As more medical facilities integrate big data analytics and management tools into their workflows, the need for talented professionals with a blend of IT and business expertise will continue to grow. The University’s MSBA program is designed to prepare students for the future of business operations by providing a rigorous, hands-on curriculum focused on data analytics, information visualization and risk management.
Over the course of this 30-credit-hour graduate program, you can learn how businesses use data science to enhance decision making, identify improvement opportunities and secure long-term profitability. Students will also develop a solid understanding of key business technologies used in real-world health care applications, from blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) to data mining tools. By learning about these cutting-edge innovations, you can acquire the knowledge, skills and experience that medical facilities need to deliver the best possible care to patients without overspending or underutilizing key resources.