What skills and qualifications should a medical data analyst have?

It’s no secret that data analytics is being viewed as an increasingly lucrative career choice, with the field becoming a central aspect to many healthcare provider structures. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the relevant skills and qualifications needed to break into the industry, as well as what to expect from a career in data analytics.

Within the medical sector, a data analyst is someone who combs through large amounts of information, turning it from difficult-to-manage raw data into useful, actionable insights. These insights can then be used to affect change in real-world healthcare situations – perhaps by providing a pharmaceutical company with detailed patient opinions of a medical product, or responses to a certain treatment or therapy.

Of course, it goes without saying that there a huge number of possible avenues within medical data analytics. One field experiencing a substantial growth in interest as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is telehealth, with large investments being made in remote healthcare services in order to improve accessibility to medical care. That being said, a growing number of opportunities within the drug development process are also drawing attention to the potential of data analytics to benefit clinical trials.

Within the clinical trial process, data analysts at Permea are able to take mountains of data and, using a variety of data analytics programs, transform into accurate and easy-to-understand information that our research and development teams can then use to recommend improvements to the medication or therapy before it enters phased trials. Not only does this save huge amounts of time and guesswork on the part of the drug developers, but it also improves success rates and lowers costs, only trialing the drugs that are likely to move forward through the clinical trial process.

This, in turn, makes the end product cheaper for the patient, as the pharmaceutical company will have saved potentially billions on failed trials that will then need to be recouped through the approved product. In this example, a clear link can be seen between data analytics and improved quality of life for patients: by improving the information provided to research and development teams, data analysts are directly helping in the search for better product candidates.

Given the increasing popularity of this field – and a resulting boom in demand for data analytics positions – competition is fierce, with many job advertisements for analysts in Germany receiving countless enquiries. Although a degree in data science isn’t necessarily essential, it can only improve your chances of submitting a successful application – as will any form of experience, be that internships, volunteer work, or previous relevant positions – and with so many individuals keen to enter this field, anything you can do to boost your CV is encouraged.

Whilst experience and academic qualifications are important in any field, data analysts also need to be confident in their problem-solving competencies, as well as having solid mathematical and analytic skills alongside the ability to analyze, model and interpret huge amounts of raw data. Although not a prerequisite, patience is a virtue in this field, as is a good knowledge of existing programming languages such as Python, Oracle and SQL. Data analysts are often spinning a lot of plates at once, so consider whether or not your multi-tasking and communication skills are up to the exciting challenge of a career in analytics before you decide to go down this path.

Piqued your interest? Take a look at our careers page for potential job vacancies and internship positions in data analytics at Permea.

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