Health management professionals looking to jump to the front of the employment pack find a key set of skills are necessary for career success: understanding big data. How to harvest it, analyze it, and transform it into information providers can use to improve patient healthcare. In the health information management and technology field, the demand is high for professionals with these capabilities. The University of Wisconsin’s online Health Information Management and Technology program helps generate a workforce able to meet these needs.
“UW Health Information Management and Technology program instructors are experts in the areas of clinical data, information technology, and applying these data analysis skills to healthcare data,” says program manager Dr. Frank Waterstraat. “Our program curriculum gives students the knowledge and skills that will make them marketable for careers resulting from the revolution in big data and health data analytics.”
With the use of electronic health records dominating the industry, careers related to health data have multiplied. As a recent American Health Information Management Association article notes, health information management professionals with clinical and information technology skills have become valuable resources across healthcare. Providers want access to data, and they want it in a format they can understand – and health information management professionals are ideally suited to supply that information.
“The ability to take raw data, clean it and analyze it, and know how to apply it to various situations related to healthcare is invaluable,” Waterstraat says. “Retrieving data and creating health information through data analysis could lead to providers’ ability to predict community and individual health needs to improve population health. This is consistent with the new reimbursement models driven by accountable care organizations.
Big data is poised to change the way the healthcare industry functions, and the way health information management professionals fit into the equation. Students in the UW Health Information Management and Technology program graduate with the skills necessary to retrieve, analyze, and report on data from various health information technology systems, including electronic health records. Graduates find these skills put them in strong positions for employment.
“Health information management professionals skilled in data analysis will have the upper hand in the job market,” Waterstraat says. “They are capable of creating healthcare information that can be used to change the way providers and insurers approach healthcare practice and delivery.”