How Data Analysis and Analytics Improves Public Health

Data analytics is a method of using patient or population data in order to help key demographics in the community receive top-quality healthcare. Health IT Analytics states, “data analytics can assist population health management in improving patient outcomes, enhancing care management and addressing social determinants of health.”

Graduates of an online Master of Public Health (MPH) – General program, like that at Eastern Washington University, will be equipped with the necessary data analytics and information management skills to improve the field of public health in a number of spaces.

Why Is the Use of Data Analytics in Healthcare Important?

Data analytics plays an important role in health management. Without concrete data, public health professionals cannot not give community members an exact picture surrounding current population issues.

Alongside the actual data, public health tools that operate on data analytics help populations receive care, measure the care provided and deliver care appropriately through new advancements within the tech field. For example, in today’s world, patients are able to book appointments and talk with their doctor through the ease of a smart device. This frees up the time it takes to go to a healthcare facility and communicate with professionals.

These tech-first devices keep track of all medical records through data analytics, making it easier for patients and health professionals to submit documents. It ensures that data is not mixed up between patients — which could have severe consequences should it occur.

Data analytics also makes the lives of healthcare professionals easier. They no longer need to handwrite every document as key information is communicated to them. Nurses can spend more time with their patients instead of spending time on medical record data input and tracking.

Overall, data analytics in healthcare benefits the entire healthcare industry. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the emerging abundance of data and its associated predictive analytics can contribute to precision public health by including more extensive information in public health assessment of disease burden, facilitators and barriers to evidence-based intervention implementation and outcome measures as related to person, place and time.”

Data Analytics Careers in the Public Health Field

Consumer health informatics items include wearable devices that track multiple metrics, like how many miles an individual has walked, heart rate and stress levels. Devices that collect this information and contribute to health informatics have the potential to improve the public health field and make community members more aware of a community’s particular health concerns.

As more people begin using items like Apple Watches and Fitbits, the more jobs within the data analytics field will increase. This has the potential to create a better outlook based on emerging technologies throughout the public health field, specifically. Public health professionals play a crucial role in progressing new forms of advocacy for communities.

An article published by the National Library of Medicine states, “precision public health has added value, identifies classes of value and outlines the risks inherent in using big data through efforts.” Experts believe precision public health will continue to add depth to the field and open new jobs for professionals throughout the healthcare industry.

“As data analytics continues to grow in the population health management space, consumer health informatics will also likely expand in the healthcare world, but also in the tech and provider world,” explains Health IT Analytics.

Better Understand the Role of Data Analytics with a Master’s Degree

One way to better understand the role of data analytics, particularly as a public health professional, is to further your career and earn your MPH degree. Those who enroll in the MPH online program at Eastern Washington University will gain valuable expertise to make strategic differences in public health.

Students will examine sociological perspectives of healthcare inequities and develop the means to improve them utilizing various methods. This intensive program — which students can complete in as few as 14 months — allows students to analyze public health issues and apply founding concepts (both public and private) to public health initiatives.

For example, the Biostatistics course covers the basics of quantitative and qualitative analysis regarding biological data in all areas of public health. In the Program Planning, Evaluation and Process Improvement course, students focus on developing core competencies to help communities through resources critical to the field.

Each future public health graduate will obtain the knowledge required to enter into numerous influential roles such as public health educator, contact tracer, community health advisor or biostatistician.

Learn more about Eastern Washington University’s online MPH – General program.

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