A look into your career as a population health analyst

September 07, 2023 · 5 min read · By ASU Online
If you’re transitioning careers or are a seasoned professional looking to upskill, there’s an online degree that can help you advance your career as a population health analyst. Get the details on the job opportunities available, the skills you’ll need to succeed and the online master’s in health informatics that’ll help you achieve your goals.

The health care industry collects a large amount of data that must be analyzed properly to improve operations and the patient experience. Interpreting data to influence strategies that drive better clinical outcomes, lower costs and improve operational efficiency are all ways these analysts may participate in improving health care.

Becoming a population health analyst gives you an opportunity to not only mine complex data, but also use it to provide systems-related advice benefiting your organization. You can design new ways to incorporate data through IT-focused solutions as you create different models based on your evaluation of statistical population and public health data. Developing data-driven solutions to improve difficult business challenges within health care can place population health analysts at the forefront of industry innovation.


The job description of a population health analyst

Population health analysts use their analytical skills to collect, analyze and interpret large data sets to create business solutions. By simplifying research, you can turn your discoveries and ideas into practical plans that benefit a business. On a typical day, a population health analyst can be asked to work on a variety of tasks aligned with data processing, organization or model design. Specific tasks may include:

  • Designing and building population health data set processes for purposes such as modeling, production or mining.
  • Developing prototypes, proofs of concept, algorithms, predictive models or custom analysis.
  • Performing and interpreting population health data studies to learn more about new data sources or new uses for existing sources.
  • Strategizing to improve population health data and search quality as well as predictive capabilities.
  • Working collaboratively with key stakeholders and different functional departments as well as your immediate team members.

Throughout these daily activities, your top priority as a population health analyst is to develop the processes that analyze data accuracy and model performance to ensure the integrity of the results.


The skills you’ll need to succeed in the role

Qualifying for a career as a population health analyst requires a higher level of technical acumen than many other professions. To succeed in this role you should be confident in using statistical computer languages such as Python and SQL as needed in your daily responsibilities.

Other skills that can be helpful for population health analysts include:

  • Attention to detail: Paying close attention to one’s work as a population health analyst ensures that you’ll catch programming errors before they cause issues or identify important data among vast quantities of information.
  • Problem-solving: A key component of this position is looking at how to improve efficiency of population health initiatives within an organization. This can be achieved through data analysis across multiple systems to find ideal solutions.
  • Verbal and written communication: Population health analysts must be able to communicate effectively both with co-workers who have a technical background and those who don’t. Being able to clearly explain conclusions to any audience is very important in this role, especially when translating population health data to stakeholders.


Population health analyst salary

Career opportunities as a population health analyst and roles within related fields, such as data science, are seeing substantial growth. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected growth for data science roles, of which population health analysts are closely related, is estimated at 36% from 2021 to 2031. This is much greater than the national average for all professions.

Additionally, according to Glassdoor, the total average salary for a population health analyst is $76,281 as of August 2023.

Ideal candidates should have strong analytical skills, professional experience and a technical-based education. Typically, a master’s degree in a field such as health informatics is preferable, as employers often target candidates with backgrounds in health care data analysis.


Earn your online master’s in health informatics

Arizona State University’s online Master of Advanced Study in health informatics consists of core courses that cover data analysis, health communication, data modeling, innovative leadership and more. In addition to these topics, you’ll have the option to explore your specific interests by completing electives on topics such as data science, mobile health and modern health information technology.

This program provides you with an innovative approach to combining information technology, computer science and knowledge management that is designed to improve the health care industry. Whether you’re looking to transition into this field or are ready to advance in your current role, a master’s in health informatics can help you reach your goals.

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