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Healthcare data analysts are in extremely high demand as the healthcare industry continues to grow – especially in its digitalization efforts.

If you’re interested in becoming a healthcare data analyst, this blog post is for you!

In this post, I’ll walk you through how to become a healthcare data analyst in 7 easy steps. In fact, these are the exact steps I took to become a healthcare data analyst myself!

So whether you’re just starting out or you’re already in the field and looking to move up, keep reading to copy my exact steps to enter a career in healthcare data analytics! I’ll also provide helpful tips and advice.

Let’s find out more.

Step 1: Understand the Healthcare Data Analytics Field

The first step to becoming a healthcare data analyst is understanding what the field is and what it entails.

Healthcare data analytics is all about using data to improve patient care.

Healthcare data analysts analyze large sets of data to find patterns and trends that help guide decision-making in the healthcare industry.

For example, a healthcare data analyst might: use data to help a hospital understand how often certain procedures are performed, how many patients are seen in the ER for a specific condition, or what the most effective treatments are for a particular disease.

Healthcare data analysts need to have strong analytical skills and be able to effectively communicate their findings to those who will be using the data to make decisions.

Some action points to take:

  • Research the healthcare data analytics field and understand what it entails
  • Gain strong analytical skills
  • Develop excellent communication skills

Step 2: Familiarize With Common Tools Used by Healthcare Data Analysts

Now that you have a better understanding of the healthcare data analytics field, it’s time to familiarize yourself with some of the common tools used by health data analysts.

There are many different software programs and databases that are used for storing and analyzing healthcare data in electronic health records.

Some of the most common ones include:

  • R
  • SQL
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Tableau
  • SAS

Familiarizing yourself with these tools will give you a better understanding of how to work with healthcare data and make you more attractive to potential employers.

Some action points to take:

  • Research common software programs and databases used by healthcare data analysts
  • Familiarize yourself with how each tool
  • Take on courses and boot camps to learn the skills needed to be a health data analyst

In some cases, you’ll probably need to take up some courses and certificates. If you’re more committed, you can consider a bachelor’s degree in health information management or healthcare data analysis.

I personally took some certifications to be a certified health data analyst to help boost my resume and learn the essential tools at the same time.

Step 3: Practice, Practice, Practice

The next crucial step to get into healthcare analytics is to start practicing!

There are many free online resources that you can use to practice working with healthcare data.

Some of my favorites include:

  • Kaggle Datasets
  • CDC Wonder

Practicing with real data will not only give you a better understanding of how to work with healthcare data, but it will also make you more attractive to potential employers.

Although you won’t have any access to confidential medical records, you can always play around with practice datasets!

Some action points to take:

  • Find free online resources to practice working with healthcare data
  • Work on basic coding questions
  • Start practicing with real data

Step 4: Work on Healthcare Domain-Specific Projects

Now that you’ve had some practice with healthcare data, it’s time to start working on healthcare domain-specific projects.

There are many different types of projects you can work on, but some examples include:

  • Analyzing how a hospital uses its resources
  • Forecasting how many ER visits there will be in the next year
  • Identifying how to improve patient outcomes

Working on projects like these will not only give you a better understanding of how to work with healthcare data, but it will also make you more attractive to potential employers.

Some action points to take:

  • Start working on healthcare domain-specific projects
  • Write blog posts about your projects to help future employers understand them better

Step 5: Participate in Data Analytics Competitions/Hackathons

Joining a data analytics competition can really help you get your hands on some real healthcare data!

You can look around your local area for any competitions organized by communities or local healthcare institutions.

Participating in these competitions will not only give you a better understanding of how to work with healthcare data, but it will also make you more attractive to potential employers.

I’ve personally had a chance to work on a healthcare accessibility project in the ASEAN Data Science Explorers Competitions! It was a fulfilling experience and I believe it helped boost my confidence in healthcare data analytics.

Step 6: Get an Internship or a Relevant Workplace Project

What better way to learn than getting real experience?

Working on real healthcare data in a professional environment is an excellent way to get started in your healthcare data analytics journey.

If you’re a student, one of the best ways would be to get an internship at a healthcare company. I’ve personally went down this route and had a data analyst intern position in my senior year of college.

On the other hand, if you’re already working in a healthcare company, chances are, you’re going to deal with some patient data.

In this case, you can try looking for internal positions and projects to start with. This will make it easier for your manager to speak on your behalf and refer you to a healthcare data analyst position.

Step 7: Prepare and Apply for Healthcare Data Analyst Positions

Once you have all the necessary experience, it’s time to start applying for healthcare data analyst positions!

I would recommend taking a look at job postings and see what skills and experience are required/preferred. Then, tailor your resume and portfolio projects to match those requirements.

Some action points:

  • Look at job postings to see what’s required/preferred
  • Tailor your resume and portfolio projects to match the requirements
  • Apply!

Some common jobs you can also apply for (instead of the main position of healthcare data analyst) include:

  • Health data analysts
  • Healthcare analysts
  • Healthcare business analysts

Final Thoughts

These are the 7 main steps I’d take to become a healthcare data analyst

I hope this post has helped you have a better idea on where to begin or work on next.

Good luck on your journey of becoming a healthcare data analyst!