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Recruiting the Right People for a Data-Driven Culture

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As healthcare organizations engage in the world of big data, the need to recruit data professionals is more critical than ever. This shift toward a data-driven culture requires a well-rounded group of employees who are data literate and who in turn increase the effectiveness of decisions based on data.

Data-Driven Culture Shift

Making this change requires health professionals at all levels be data literate. For example, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers, physicians and pharmacists, to name a few, will need to embrace and use data to drive change and improve outcomes.

One of the top predictions in healthcare is a shift in analytics from focusing on big data as a whole, to meaningful and smaller data sets by hospital specialty. This shift requires a higher level of thinking among clinicians and leaders of specialty units.

There are also a variety of health professionals who specialize in data analytics including healthcare business analysts, health information management analysts, analytics specialists, clinical informaticists, etc. Today, the role of data analyst in healthcare is expanding to include report writer, storyteller, data scientist, data detective, senior data analyst or the newest term, citizen data scientist—an individual that makes the connection between the high-level technical data scientist and the more business-oriented data discovery analyst.

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Recognizing this shift, academic institutions are supporting the growing need for students to be prepared in understanding the value of analytics in their current or future role. Multiple undergraduate, graduate, doctorate and certificate programs focus on some combination of healthcare, informatics and analytics. These programs integrate theory and concepts focused on using technology, analytics, data, data mining, report writing, storytelling, data management, etc., into their programs.

Finding the Right People

As organizations move to a data-driven culture for healthcare delivery, recruiters and human resources personnel need to be creative in defining the organization’s analytics needs to find the right person for the right job. They should look closer at applicant resumes, especially those who have recently graduated or completed continuing education in the area of healthcare informatics and health-related analytics.

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Too often when hiring healthcare data professionals, the description lacks the true needs of the position. It’s important to be thoughtful when titling and defining job openings, because it may limit the applicant pool.

For example, a systems analyst position may be posted, but what is really needed is someone with clinical experience who can assist in developing electronic forms for transitioning from paper to electronic documentation. A better title would be a clinical informaticist, informatics nurse or informatics physical therapist. A nurse or therapist with informatics training looking to transition to a new role would not apply for a systems analyst position, but would apply for a clinical informaticist position. A well-thought out job title and description will capture the attention of individuals who could best fulfill the needs of the organization.

Health administrators and human resources personnel need to collaborate to create job positions for healthcare data analysts where the title and description represent the true needs of the organization as they move toward a data-driven culture. In other words, if you build a job position and title it appropriately, applicants will come.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.

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