How to get ahead in one of Australia's fastest growing sectors

How to get ahead in one of Australia's fastest growing sectors

Throughout the course of a year, billions of documents are being produced by hospitals and clinics around the world and now almost 30 per cent of the world's stored data is generated by the health industry.

More than 1.2 billion clinical documents are generated in the US alone, and this 'big data' has the potential to deliver critical and life-saving decisions while improving the performance and efficiency of hospitals and the entire healthcare system.

Analysts have found that a single patient generates around 80 megabytes a year in imaging and electronic medical record data. McKinsey estimates that this data, if collated and analysed correctly, could be worth more than $300 billion annually in reduced costs in the US alone.

In Australia, the healthcare sector is experiencing major growth. There is huge demand for data scientists to analyse the 'big data' that helps improve patient outcomes and deliver cost efficiencies to healthcare providers.

"To drive value improvements and ensure that the right patient receives the right care from the right provider at the right time and place requires data and data science professionals," says Marco D. Huesch, a leading data scientist who is also managing director and chief medical officer with Ping An Group based in Hong Kong.

"Without good data science, good delivery science and good implementation science are impossible."

According to a 2017 LinkedIn report, data scientists rank among the top emerging jobs across the globe and the number of advertised positions has grown by 650 per cent since 2012. Hundreds of companies, particularly in the US and Australia, are hiring qualified data professionals to fill those roles.

So, what does a data scientist do? They are experts who pull data from source systems, turn the data into insights and information, then deploy those insights for transformation into action.

In the healthcare sector, a data scientist collects the raw information and converts it into knowledge that changes practice. They can quickly identify better and faster identification of shortfalls in adherence, compliance and evidence-based care.

Data scientists can share data insights with hospitals, health insurance partners and community stakeholders to provide more customised patient care. This will drive a better understanding of chronic conditions, enhance adherence and compliance, improve self-care, and help patients avoid more costly treatments.

Increasingly, healthcare operators are becoming aware of the need to improve their data analytics to drive improvements and positive outcomes. As a result, demand for qualified data scientists is set to grow exponentially.

James Cook University's online Master of Data Science course will put you ahead of the pack if you're looking to become a key player in one of the fastest growing industries in Australia.

This article was written in partnership with James Cook University.

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