Health data scientists wear many “hats” across an organization, from data cleaning and preparation, to data visualization and analysis, to data quality assessment and control, to creating user-friendly interactive web-based dashboards, to generation of reports and communicating key results to stakeholders.
What does a Health Data Scientist actually do?
Modern healthcare organizations collect an increasing amount of data, and this data comes from many origins and forms, including some you might not have thought of, such as:
- health and activity monitors (apple watch, Fitbit)
- medical records information (large electronic databases of healthcare diagnoses and past appointments)
- Medicare claims data (large electronic databases of healthcare costs)
- and soon, genetic profile data (your individual genetic code).
Data plays an integral part in decisions that are made within healthcare organizations, as well as the world beyond healthcare. Data doesn’t become powerful on its own, though. Health data scientists must use scientific reasoning to tell effective stories using the data, visualizations, and analyses they perform. This is referred to as “data storytelling,” and is a focus of the Health Data Science curriculum.
These data can be combined within an individual role or across millions of individuals, allowing health data scientists to literally predict the future. Health data scientists can be involved in many aspects of the work done within the healthcare industry.
For instance, one health data scientist may be interested in reducing healthcare costs by using an algorithm to target high-risk individuals and identifying opportunities to impact their health behaviors in a positive manner, thus decreasing their healthcare costs in the short and long term.
Another health data scientist may be interested in improving standards of care and treatment operating procedures in order to reduce the average length of hospital stay for patients after suffering a heart attack.
They may also focus on increasing the average time to a the patient’s next potential heart attack, thus reducing the number of heart attacks in the population.
A third data scientist may work on assessing the effectiveness of a therapeutic treatment designed to reduce the risk of experiencing a heart attack for individuals with high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Essentially, data plays an integral part in decisions that are made within healthcare organizations, as well as the world beyond healthcare. Data doesn’t become powerful on its own, though. Health data scientists must use scientific reasoning to tell effective stories using the data, visualizations, and analyses they perform. This is referred to as “data storytelling”, and is a focus of the Health Data Science curriculum.
Our degree has two built-in internships required for graduation. During their internship experiences, recent students have queried SQL databases, created interactive web applications, generated reproducible reports with the click of a button, and created machine learning models for predicting health care costs.
If you would like to find out what this exciting field can offer you, feel free to reach out to Leah Jansen (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kayla Rinker (email@example.com).