by Peter Gao
Senior Analyst, Advanced Analytics


One of the reasons I find health care to be such an exciting field to work in is the vast amount of data it produces and the fact that there’s always a unique set of challenges with each data set. And with each challenge, there’s also an opportunity to engineer process improvements that can save money and maybe even lives.

By and large, data analysts like me are natural problem solvers. Personally, I love being a “data detective,” uncovering the trends and truths below the surface of numbers, ratios and percentages. I am able to continue to hone my ability to transform an abstract problem into a tangible business question and offer a scalable solution. In addition, my work gives me the opportunity to work with different stakeholders across the organization, and lead the team to a path that helps us achieve common goals.

If you don’t have great data detectives working in your hospital you need to add them. If you have analysts, you need to give them the training and support to take their detective skills to the next level. Here are five benefits your organization can realize by developing your data analysts to their fullest potential:

  1. Data integration: A skilled data analyst understands how to shape various sources of data and integrate them, enabling the organization to maintain good data quality and achieve stakeholder satisfaction. For example, many data analysts in health care organizations field questions from stakeholders inquiring about the validity and the interpretation of their data. Armed with the ability to understand how data flows within the organization and how to integrate it helps the analyst address the stakeholders’ concerns in the most accurate and efficient way.
  2. Predictive Insights: Skilled data analysts develop strong quantitative skills which enable them to offer predictive insights for stakeholders. For example, they are able to predict trends for things like hospital readmission rates and ED utilization based on analysis of the data. That in turn can help health care organizations save a substantial amount of dollars and act more assertively instead of reactively.
  3. Efficiency: When a data analyst becomes a data detective, they begin to leverage superior technical skills, software and other analytical tools in the most efficient manner. This results in projects completed and delivered quickly, with scalable deliverables.
  4. Collaboration: Data analysts at the top of their practice constantly network with other analysts and key stakeholders, enabling the analyst and organization to absorb knowledge and harvest the best ideas, practices and outcomes.
  5. Action: Finally, in the hands of a well-trained analyst, big data offers a wealth of actionable insights. What is hidden to others jumps out to the data detective and they can turn insights into clear, actionable information. This is one of the reasons I love being an analyst.

Now that you understand the potential of helping your data analysts become data detectives, look for a program that can take them to the next level. The best programs offer skill development in:

  • Benchmarking
  • Risk-adjustment mechanisms and tools
  • Basis data measurement and analysis
  • Advanced data measurement and analysis
  • The importance of variation

To learn more about the Vizient Analyst Certificate Program, click here.

By ensuring your analysts are well-developed and primed for tackling big data (and unraveling the mysteries of it), you will find that they can have a significant impact on improving your health care organization’s bottom line and patient relationships.

About the author. Peter Gao is an experienced data scientist who creates scalable solutions for members in his role as senior analyst, advanced analytics and informatics at Vizient. He has been trained in the areas of statistics and econometrics. 


Published: February 3, 2017