Analytics-facing positions in healthcare–diversity abounds

Greg Nelson Analytics roles, Healthcare Analytics, KM_linkedin, KM_thotwave, Our Thots

by Monica Horvath, Healthcare Practice Lead

Normally I wouldn’t share a job description on our site.  But I have a tendency to always watch JDs that pass my way as they are a window into how an organization sees itself in terms of analytics maturity.

This position from Partners Healthcare is for a Director of Patient Affordability & Decision Support Systems.  What is that?  Its a long title and somewhat hard to parse.  But Partners has always been a leader in data-driven healthcare, and so it’s worth diving into the role description:

  • The position is responsible for figuring out, in a nutshell, how to make healthcare services affordable for patients
  • As a result, the role involves using a lot of cost accounting data — and manages 14 staff members
  • This role is expected to make enterprise-wise recommendations that will result in cost savings for patients
  • This role is expected to benchmark Partners’ costs against that of other organizations
  • Administrative, financial, and clinical info is expected to be combined to improve costing assumptions and support analyses
  • It appears that resulting costing information will be put back into the enterprise data warehouse

It’s tempting to think that this position is really just all about cost accounting, but the careful wording shows this is not the case.  There certainly is a lot of work in store for the chosen candidate, and the patient affordability aspect is heavily emphasized.   I think 10 years ago the JD would be looking for a straight financial person.  But this role wants someone who ‘gets’ operations and clinical workflow.  It is also pretty open in terms of the degree background required.

If organizations like University of Utah Health System are any indication, activity-based costing is likely the path that this person would want to tread– if the culture of Partners permits this.  (On this point– I don’t know).  But to succeed in this role, one would need to have a big appreciation for how data should drive decisions and their staff should as well.  This role, in tuning cost accounting with the patient affordability landscape, even stands to have an educational impact for the rest of Partners’ leadership.

This is just another example how data and analytics literacy stands to provide a competitive edge for organizations who can manage those competencies well.

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