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Big Data Mines Healthcare Management Careers

Healthcare groups are increasingly investing in predictive analytics, helping to spur an increase in healthcare management jobs for MBA and master's students.

Tue Dec 2 2014

As businesses grapple with identifying how data analytics can open up new revenue streams, healthcare groups are increasingly investing in predictive analytics, helping to spur an increase in healthcare management jobs for business school graduates.

According to a quarterly healthcare jobs snapshot compiled by Healthecareers, a recruitment network, the provision of administrative and executive positions increased by 33% in the third quarter of 2014 compared with 2013.

Healthecareers collected data from 74,859 healthcare and medical job openings placed by 3,077 hospital and healthcare organizations in the US.

Separately a report by Rock Health, a San Francisco seed fund for digital health-related start-ups backed by Silicon Valley venture capitalists, the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School, as well as General Electric and UnitedHealth Group, forecasts that $1.9 billion in investment will be pumped into predictive analytic projects. These include utilizing historic data to predict future developments and influence patient care.

According to Rock Health, the healthcare sector stored roughly 500 petabytes of patient data in 2012 – but by 2020 they expect 50 times as much data, or 25,000 petabytes, to be stored.

Business schools believe that the surge in demand for data-driven solutions will open up career opportunities for their graduates. This trend is already being seen in sectors including finance, media and retail and e-commerce.

It has led to a collection of data-specific business master’s degrees being launched in the US and Europe.

Yehuda Bassok, chair of the data sciences and operations department at USC Marshall School of Business, said that there is demand for students in marketing functions within the healthcare sector.

“Companies are coming to us and saying one quality we are looking for is their ability to look at a very large data set that is unstructured and to make some sense of it,” he said.

He added that healthcare is one of the “biggest areas” of data analytics recruitment: “I can see it as a very important tool in the very near future in global healthcare, and in low income countries. There is a huge need for people that can deal with data,” he said.

Healthecareers’ research compounds similar data released by QS, the university and careers research firm, which found that the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and healthcare sectors hired 5% more MBA students globally in 2013. But hiring growth in western Europe surged by 10%, according to QS’ survey of 4,318 companies that actively hired MBAs.

Jennifer George, director of the master of business analytics at Melbourne Business School, said that there is an “urgent need” among the school’s closest organisational supporters for analytics professionals.

“Those organisations who are not considering how to use it effectively are giving away a huge competitive advantage to their rivals,” she added.

Changes to the US healthcare system such the increase in business-related problems including the many intricacies of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has fed a demand for healthcare groups to seek managers with an MBA as well as an MD degree.

Medical students are now increasingly turning to dual-degree programs which prepare them for potentially lucrative careers in health management.

According to the Carnegie Foundation’s Healthcare Policy and Research Centre, the number of joint MD/MBA programs in the US has increased from six to 65 in 20 years, and by 25% between 2011 and 2012.

Other business schools run healthcare management MBA programs, including the Fuqua School of Business and Rotman School of Management in North America, and the Frankfurt School in Europe.

Karen Klein, president of Rotman’s Healthcare Management Association, said that an MBA gives her the opportunity to enhance financial and business strategy skills, as well as broaden her knowledge in areas of integrative thinking and problem solving.

She worked as a dental surgeon in South Africa and hopes to move into innovative healthcare organizations that allow her to combine medical and clinical knowledge with her business skills.

“We aim to extend students’ exposure to include the financial roles and entrepreneurship opportunities that are becoming increasingly relevant in the healthcare sector,” she added.