When Andrea Jackson told her future employers that she already understood predictive analytics, their eyes lit up and she knew she had the job.
A former middle school science and math teacher, Jackson, 27, learned those skills while getting her M.S. in Data Analytics from Rowan University, where every week, she’d learn a different predictive analytics type of algorithm.
“This understanding helped me get a job quickly,” she said. She’s now at a company in the Tri-State area that does healthcare analytics.
“Health analytics is a needed speciality for the greater Philadelphia area,” said Rowan professor Tony Breitzman, who designed the program. “We’re living in a world where data is increasingly important, especially in the healthcare field.” Not to mention that Philadelphia is trying to brand itself as a hub for health IT.
The master’s program is taught by professionals who are in the field and can bring real-world examples into the class. Students work on projects for outside organizations that can drive policy changes.
Like one student who sought to identify reasons why patients who went to Cooper University Hospital for a certain procedure tended to coincide with extended hospital stays. Surprisingly, the extended hospital stays were not a result of procedure complications. They were due to two other factors: time of the week and age of the patient. Longer stays tended to occur in a hospital when patients go in closer to the weekend, and age compounded that longer stay. Because of this realization, Cooper changed its policies to schedule patients for that procedure earlier in the week.
Cooper is also using Rowan’s program to train its employees.
Nancy Street, Assistant Vice President at Cooper, realized that while she met both data analytics experts and healthcare experts, it was harder to find an employee with both skill sets. She initially met with Rowan University to see if there was anyone they could recommend coming out of their program, and the meeting developed into a partnership between the two organizations that allowed hospital employees take data analytics courses.
“Having data analytics allows us the ability to manage a population versus one patient at a time,” Street said.
Interested? The enrollment deadline for the Rowan University M.S. in Data Analytics is July 1, 2017, if you want to start in the fall of 2017.