Health Informatics & Sciences

How Much Do Healthcare Data Analysts Make? A Guide to Healthcare Data Analyst Salary

How Much Do Healthcare Data Analysts Make? A Guide to Healthcare Data Analyst Salary
Some people describe this job as one that exists at the intersection of business and healthcare, and it's true that health data analysis can be used to make money. But data analytics in medicine also saves lives. Image from Unsplash
Christa Terry profile
Christa Terry March 21, 2023

All health data analysts sift and sort data to cull actionable insights for providers, insurance companies, and public health organizations. How much they are paid often depends on the specific title they're given.

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The healthcare industry generates thousands of exabytes of data each year. To put that in perspective, one exabyte equals one billion gigabytes. A little more perspective: an x-ray image typically requires 20 megabytes (0.02 gigabytes) of storage. One exabyte is approximately 50 billion x-ray images.

Needless to say, that’s a lot of data that can be leveraged to improve outcomes, optimize treatments, customize care, reduce costs, and make medicine better. Unfortunately, the vast majority of that data is hard to access and hard to analyze. There’s not only a lot of it; it also comes from a lot of different sources, including electronic medical records, connected medical devices, and drug trials.

That’s where healthcare data analysts come in. These professionals have the knowledge and skills to sift through the tsunami of information coming out of provider networks, hospitals, labs, insurance companies, and public health agencies. They find the data, organize it, interpret it, and turn it into actionable insights.

Some say this job sits at the intersection of business and healthcare, and it’s true that health data analysis can be used to make money. But data analytics in medicine also saves lives. The work of health data analysts can reduce medical mistakes, help providers make more accurate diagnoses, and reduce the impact of pandemics.

Given the importance of data analytics in healthcare, you might assume that health data analysts are paid quite well. The reality, however, is that while you won’t starve in this role, you probably won’t get rich, either. How much can you actually earn in this role? In this article about the average healthcare data analyst salary, we attempt to answer that question by addressing these questions:

  • What does a healthcare data analyst do?
  • Are there different types of healthcare data analysts?
  • What education do healthcare data analysts need?
  • What is the average healthcare data analyst salary?
  • Are entry-level healthcare data analysts paid well?
  • How much do experienced healthcare data analysts earn?
  • Can a healthcare data analyst earn more money with certifications?
  • How can healthcare data analysts earn the highest salary?
  • Are healthcare data analysts in demand?

What does a healthcare data analyst do?

healthcare data analysts are responsible for collecting, managing, and analyzing healthcare data and finding answers to questions related to business operations, medicine, or both. Questions like:

  • What procedural changes can a hospital make to reduce readmissions and hospital-acquired conditions?
  • Why do more people die of respiratory ailments in certain geographical locations?
  • Which insurance subscribers will benefit most from specific diagnostic tests?

Using statistics to identify trends in everything from treatment efficacy to operational costs is a big part of the job. That’s because providers, healthcare facilities, and insurance companies are increasingly looking for ways to use data to drive decision-making.

Depending on what kinds of questions they’re trying to answer, a healthcare data analyst might use data sourced from:

  • Administrative enrollment records
  • Billing claims
  • Clinical trials
  • Cost reports
  • Diagnostic test results
  • Electronic health records
  • Health surveys
  • Insurance records
  • IoT devices
  • Medical monitoring devices
  • Patient outcome reports
  • Patient satisfaction surveys
  • Pharmaceutical research
  • Public health data
  • Social media

healthcare data analysts do more than just use data to find answers to questions and solutions to problems. They’re also responsible for presenting their findings to executives and other stakeholders. In some cases, they also have to create custom dashboards that automate reporting and make it easier for stakeholders to find answers in data themselves.


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Are there different types of healthcare data analysts?

Data analysts who work in healthcare go by many titles:

  • Clinical analyst
  • Health data analyst
  • Health information management analyst
  • Healthcare analyst
  • Healthcare business analyst
  • Medical data analyst

Whether these titles actually represent different kinds of health data analysts is up for debate. All healthcare data analysts analyze information and use similar skills to do it. They all have to be well-versed in the complex web of rules and regulations governing patient privacy and medical records keeping. And yet, healthcare analysts working in different settings often tackle very different kinds of problems.

Some healthcare data analysts work for hospitals and other providers. They spend their days looking at sanitized electronic health records to identify patient patterns that can be used to customize care, predict which patients are at risk of dying, decrease readmission, or improve patient outcomes. The same data can be used to prevent costly or deadly human error by alerting doctors and nurses to potential drug interactions or dangerous dosages. Hospitals and healthcare networks also employ health data analysts to help control costs.

Other healthcare data analysts work for insurance companies, looking for ways to reduce costs or improve efficiency. By looking at subscriber claims and outcomes, along with drug pricing data, they can identify opportunities to create education campaigns to reduce claims for preventable diseases, find the best and most cost-effective providers, and determine which subscribers need which types of diagnostic tests.

Other healthcare data analysts work in the public health sphere, looking at metrics like lab tests, claims data, and social factors with the goal of disease prevention. They use predictive analytics to identify the patients and populations most at-risk of specific conditions. Public health professionals can design targeted outreach campaigns and work with providers to improve patient outcomes in areas where people are most likely to get sick. Health data analysts can also play a role in closing care gaps, predicting and intervening before epidemics can become pandemics, and getting public health funding where it needs to go.

Clinical healthcare data analysts also join teams of researchers that run clinical trials to determine whether new medicines and medical devices are effective and safe. An analyst might manage and monitor information collected related to side effects and efficacy. They might also design specialized reporting or analysis software created just for the trial.

It’s not clear which of the above analysts earn the most. Average salaries can differ by tens of thousands of dollars when you sort by title (more on this below), but pay is determined by so many factors, including location, highest level of education, experience, what the market will support, and, in research jobs, grants and federal funding.

What education do healthcare data analysts need?

More healthcare data analysts have bachelor’s degrees than master’s degrees or other degrees—possibly because having an advanced degree doesn’t seem to offer much of a boost to earning potential. Some health data analysts earn a bachelor’s in health informatics or Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management, but it’s also possible to launch a career in health data analytics with a data analytics degree or a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration with a data analytics concentration. Southern Oregon University offers one.

Health informatics and health information management degree programs at the bachelor’s degree level often focus more on data storage and management than on data analysis. That means aspiring healthcare data analysts will usually choose a data analytics minor or spend significant time outside of school picking up skills related to:

  • Business Intelligence: This course covers techniques and tools for transforming raw data into meaningful insights for business purposes. It includes learning about data analytics, reporting, and performance metrics, crucial for informed decision-making in healthcare settings.
  • Database Design: Students learn the principles of designing, implementing, and managing databases. The course covers data modeling, relational database design, and the use of languages like SQL, focusing on how to efficiently store and retrieve healthcare data.
  • Data Mining: This course teaches methods for discovering patterns and extracting information from large datasets. It covers algorithms and techniques like clustering and classification, essential for identifying trends and insights in healthcare data.
  • Data Security: Focuses on the practices and technologies for protecting data from unauthorized access and breaches. Given the sensitivity of healthcare information, this course covers encryption, access control, and compliance with healthcare data protection laws and regulations.
  • Data Visualization: Students learn how to represent data visually, making complex information accessible and understandable. This includes training in tools and software for creating charts, graphs, and dashboards that are crucial in healthcare data analysis.
  • Programming: This course covers programming languages relevant to data analysis, such as Python, R, or Java. It focuses on writing code for data manipulation, statistical analysis, and integration of healthcare data systems.
  • Project Management: Teaches the skills needed to manage projects effectively. This includes planning, execution, and management of data analysis projects, along with methodologies like Agile and Scrum, especially relevant in dynamic healthcare environments.
  • Regression Analysis: An important statistical tool for data analysis, this course deals with examining and modeling the relationship between variables. It’s crucial for predictive modeling in healthcare analytics.
  • SQL (Structured Query Language): This course focuses on SQL, a standard language for managing and manipulating databases. It’s vital for querying, updating, and managing data in healthcare database systems.
  • Scripting: The course covers writing scripts in languages like Python or Perl to automate data analysis tasks and process large healthcare datasets. Scripting is key for efficient data handling in healthcare analytics.
  • Statistics: Fundamental for data analysis, this course covers statistical theories and methods, including probability, hypothesis testing, and data interpretation, essential for analyzing healthcare data and drawing meaningful conclusions.

Only about 27 percent of health data analysts have master’s degrees. Still, pursuing an advanced degree isn’t a bad idea if you have a passion for health data analysis. Health informatics and health information management at the master’s degree level are more likely to devote class time to data analytics theory and techniques, but there are also dedicated healthcare data analytics and data science master’s degrees at schools like:

  • University of Southern California
  • Harvard University
  • Northwestern University

If your goal is to earn more money, opt for a healthcare data science degree. It can help you transition into a better-paying position in analytics.

What is the average healthcare data analyst salary?

The average healthcare data analyst salary is about $73,500, according to PayScale. That’s a comfortable salary in many parts of the US, though health data analysts in states like California and New York might feel the pinch. However, complicating matters is the fact that the professionals who do this work can go by many other titles. ZipRecruiter tracks salary information for many of them. According to their data:

Make sure your search parameters are fairly broad when you’re job hunting, so you don’t miss out on higher-paying opportunities.

Are entry-level healthcare data analysts paid well?

According to sites like PayScale and ZipRecruiter, entry-level healthcare data analysts with less than five years of experience typically earn somewhere between $56,000 and $61,000. How far that will go will depend on where an analyst lives, but in general, that’s relatively high for newly-minted professionals who are just starting out. Earning more than that in this role right after graduation may be possible if you can rack up some professional experience while you’re still in school. That will usually mean completing one or more data analytics internships in healthcare or health sciences settings.

How much do experienced healthcare data analysts earn?

The answer depends on the source. PayScale reports that experienced healthcare data analysts earn about $75,000, which doesn’t sound like a lot for a professional with 20+ years of data analytics under their belt. With that much experience, however, a health data analyst should be able to apply for senior healthcare data analyst positions, which tend to pay more. The senior health data analyst salary is more than $80,000—and in some parts of the country, professionals in this role can earn close to $135,000.

Can a healthcare data analyst earn more money with certifications?

The main professional certification for healthcare data analysts is the Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA) offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). The credentialing exam is open to any analyst with:

  • AHIMA’s RHIT certification and three years of relevant experience
  • Any bachelor’s degree and three years experience in health data analysis
  • Any master’s degree and one year of health data analysis experience
  • A master’s in health information management or health informatics

According to the AHIMA, having the CHDA credential is a salary booster. In a salary report released by the organization, CHDA holders earned an average salary of $92,100 in 2019, placing them among the top-earning certificate holders in health information.

How can healthcare data analysts earn the highest salary?

In this role, earning more tends to be all about experience, certification, and skills. You should consider getting your CHDA credential, and possibly also the AHIMA’s Certified in healthcare Privacy and Security credential, as well. Having one or more of the following skills can also increase your earning potential:

  • Clinical Information Systems: This skill involves understanding and utilizing software systems that store, manage, and process clinical information. It includes proficiency in using various clinical databases and applications to support healthcare delivery and decision-making.
  • Electronic Medical Records Management: Mastery of managing electronic medical records (EMRs) is crucial. This skill involves understanding how to navigate, update, and maintain EMR systems, ensuring accurate and secure patient data management.
  • Microsoft Access: Proficiency in Microsoft Access involves using this database management system to create, manage, and query databases. Essential for organizing and analyzing large sets of healthcare data.
  • Microsoft Excel: An essential skill for data analysis, Excel proficiency includes the ability to use spreadsheets effectively for data entry, manipulation, analysis, and visualization, as well as advanced features like pivot tables and macros.
  • Microsoft Exchange: While more IT-focused, understanding Microsoft Exchange can be valuable. It involves managing email, calendars, and tasks, often crucial in coordinating projects and communication within healthcare settings.
  • Nursing Informatics: This skill combines nursing knowledge with informatics expertise. It involves understanding how to use information technology to improve nursing practices, patient care, and healthcare outcomes.
  • Project Management: The ability to manage projects efficiently, including planning, execution, and monitoring. This skill is key in ensuring healthcare analytics projects are completed on time, within budget, and meet specified goals.
  • SAS: Proficiency in SAS (Statistical Analysis System) involves using this software for advanced data management, analysis, and visualization. It’s particularly valuable for complex statistical analysis in healthcare research.
  • SQL (Structured Query Language): Essential for working with databases, SQL skills enable the querying, updating, and manipulation of data in database management systems, a core task in healthcare data analysis.

You can also earn more by working in one of the following cities:

  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Cleveland, OH
  • New York, NY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Portland, OR
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Washington, DC

Just keep the cost of living in mind because a big paycheck doesn’t always go further when you live in a major metro area.

Finally, you can earn more in this role by working in particular settings. The AHIMA salary report included information about earnings by job setting. According to the findings, health data analysts can boost their earning potential by looking for work in:

  • Acute Care Settings: These are fast-paced environments focusing on short-term treatment of patients with severe injuries or illnesses, urgent medical conditions, or during recovery from surgery. Examples include:
    • Emergency Departments
    • Intensive Care Units (ICUs)
    • Trauma Centers
  • Education: Healthcare analysts in educational settings focus on research, teaching, and the development of healthcare practices. Examples include:
    • Universities and Medical Schools (as research staff or lecturers)
    • Training Hospitals (working on educational programs or research projects)
    • Continuing Education Providers (developing educational materials or courses for healthcare professionals)
  • Integrated Healthcare Systems: These systems offer a coordinated range of healthcare services, often combining both the provision of healthcare and payment mechanisms. Examples include:
    • Managed Care Organizations (such as HMOs or PPOs)
    • Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs)
    • Large Healthcare Networks with multiple types of services (hospitals, clinics, outpatient services)
  • Non-provider Settings: These are environments not directly involved in patient care but related to healthcare industry services. Examples include:
    • Health Insurance Companies (analyzing claims data, healthcare utilization, etc.)
    • Pharmaceutical Companies (working on drug research and market analysis)
    • Government Health Agencies (involved in public health research, policy analysis, or program management)

Are healthcare data analysts in demand?

Health data analysts are increasingly in demand as healthcare providers, and healthcare networks look for professionals who can collect, monitor, analyze, report on, and predict outcomes with data. A Burning Glass report on data analysts in healthcare found that as of 2016, insurance companies, providers, hospitals, and even colleges and universities were hiring more data analysts than ever before and demand was still growing.

It’s not surprising. The volume of data created by the healthcare industry is only going to go up. Companies and organizations across the healthcare space will need qualified people to deal with it. Whether pay will go up as demand increases remains to be seen, but there’s one surefire way for healthcare data analysts to boost their earnings… by transitioning out of health data analytics and into health data science. It’s a much more technical role, but it’s also a much higher-paid one.

(Updated on January 10, 2024)

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About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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