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Why an MBA in analytics will benefit healthcare


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Kyle Holley, MBA/MHA student at MUKyle Holley is a Crosby MBA student studying Marketing Analytics and earning a dual Master of Health Administration degree. A lifetime learner, Kyle also holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. Growing up in a family of healthcare professionals gave Kyle the passion to help others, which has evolved into a desire to make healthcare more affordable, safe, and effective. Due to the changing economic and healthcare trends, he plans to use financial and business analytics to leverage healthcare data and be a driving force for improving population health.

The Affordable Care and HITECH Acts have placed pressure on the healthcare system to adopt a value-based, data driven mentality. This means health systems are now responsible for the quality of care they deliver and ensuring there are adequate methods to store the information gathered.

To improve healthcare quality necessitates a greater emphasis on data analytics. The healthcare industry is currently data rich but knowledge poor, meaning there is more data available than can be reasonably interpreted and acted on. In fact, it is estimated there is well over 500 petabytes of healthcare data today. To translate that, 500 petabytes is roughly 112 million DVDs worth of information. Clearly, this is big data. So, where is healthcare analytics heading today, and how can an MBA help in that transition?

It is not sufficient to merely have the technical skills to mine big data or perform statistical procedures; there must also be the business acumen to translate the results into meaningful action and determine the impact of the actions. These actions translate into predictive and prescriptive analytics, respectively. Predictive analytics constitute the amalgamation of the available data to risk-stratify patients and identify those who are more at risk for certain diseases, readmission, etc. Prescriptive analytics, on the other hand, is what you do with the predicted information, and comprises the additional types of skills gained in an analytical MBA program. Prescriptive analytics provide suggested actions to improve the success, profitability, or responsiveness of healthcare providers by tailoring treatment plans, alerting care coordinators of emergencies, and reducing risks and costs. The push for value-based care will drive the need for prescriptive analytics, and the combination of statistical and translational skills gained in an analytical MBA program will be key in the future of healthcare.

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