Health Data Analyst Career Overview: How to Get into and What to Expect

These days, technology is improving every aspect of our lives. This is especially true when it comes to the healthcare industry. Becoming a health data analyst can be an extremely rewarding and beneficial career to get into. However, you may be wondering how to get into this field and what you can expect while working in this field.

Understanding What a Health Data Analyst Does

The health data analyst, or healthcare data analyst, will work to improve healthcare outcomes through the use of data from various sources. For the most part, health data analysts work more on the business side of the industry. The goal is to improve patient care or to streamline the facility to ensure that they are as efficient and productive as possible. Other terms for this career include healthcare consultant and healthcare business analyst. 

A health data analyst works with data from various areas including:

Clinical Data

One of the biggest things that a healthcare data analyst is focused on improving medical outcomes. Using medical records and big data, healthcare data analysts can improve the quality of patient care and work to reduce the patient’s risks. There is even the potential for training AI (artificial intelligence) to diagnose conditions like cancer.

Costs/Claims Data

There are many people in this career path who work for insurance companies and other related organizations. When talking about claims data, you are talking about relevant information about patient claims and any medical interventions as a result. There are a variety of different applications for this data. Such as helping facilities know which medical areas they should invest in more or any areas where there is a lot of waste to save money. 

Pharmaceutical Data

The data from pharmaceuticals can be used in a couple of different ways. This can be used to support the research and development of new pharmaceuticals. This can also help pharmaceuticals improve the processes used and the products created. The goal is to create drugs that can treat conditions, or better treat conditions, including creating new cancer medications. They can also use this data as a way to improve the outcomes of clinical trials.

Behavioral/Sentimental Data

You may not immediately think of behavioral or sentimental data when it comes to healthcare data analysis, but this is a very important aspect especially in today’s medical world. You can monitor patient feedback in real-time, which can help professionals better promote good behaviors as well as catching any issues earlier to get better treatment outcomes. This is most often used as marketing information for companies to help them better sell their medical products or devices.

Becoming a Health Data Analyst

This is a career field that does tend to pay very well, depending on where you live. The average pay for those who live in the United States is between $48,000 and $81,000, with the median pay being around $63,000. There are different factors that will determine exactly how much you will make, including your experience, what sector you are working in, and where in the world you are working.

There are various skills that you must absolutely have before consider working in this industry. You will typically need a degree as well as having an expertise in data analysis. 

For an entry level position, some skills that you need include:

  • Over 2 years of experience
  • A Bachelors or Master’s in the Sciences
  • Experience with popular analytic tools
  • Proficiency in SQL and data wrangling
  • Basic programming (Python, Ruby) skills or an interest in learning them
  • Competence in using Microsoft Office suite
  • Ability to explain the complex models to both technical and lay colleagues.

For a specialized healthcare data analysis, you need skills such as:

  • Experience with electronic health records
  • Experience with healthcare claims
  • Knowledge and working understanding of the clinical classification systems (including ICD)
  • Practical knowledge of the healthcare industry, such as an experience as a medical professional, and understanding of diseases and illnesses, and how hospitals operate.

Now it’s time to look at how you become a health data analyst. 

Getting Your Bachelor’s Degree

For the most part, companies and organizations require a bachelor’s degree in some relevant field to get started in this industry, such as IT or something in healthcare. If you want to grow in your career, you will want to get a more advanced degree such as a master’s or a PhD. 

Earn Your Certificate Data Analytics

Your degree might be good, but to really get into this industry you need to prove that you are an expert in data analytics. That’s why it’s a good idea to work towards getting various certifications to prove that you have the knowledge and skills to be successful as a health data analyst.

Work Experience

Getting work experience is essential to your success in this career path. This may mean getting work experience in the various areas of healthcare, such as in product research and development, systems technology, and human resources. It can be especially helpful if you can gain work experience working as a healthcare data analyst. 

Talk to People in the Industry

The best way to get insight in this industry and how to be successful is to talk to someone who is already established in the industry. They can give you valuable insight into the path that they took to get where they are, any struggles they encountered along the way, and various other bits of information that can be helpful as you embark on this journey. They have been in your shoes and have succeeded, making them a very valuable research to you as you just start your journey.


You can find that being a healthcare data analyst can be as profitable as it is rewarding. However, you do need to develop your skills if you are going to be successful. If you are considering this as your career path but don’t know where to start, this advice can be very helpful as you try to make your way in this industry. 

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