Quality Improvement Science and Data Analytics Major in Development

Hailey Shields, Reporter

A new major in the College of Health Sciences dealing with quality improvement and data analytic is in the works.

After talks with the healthcare advisory board and faculty, the College of Health Sciences is moving forward forward with a program with a name similar to the “Effect of Health Care Population Analytics.” The official name of the major has not yet been determined.

The field of quality improvement science and data analytics addresses the use of stored health data in the treatment of disease and injury. Examples of health data include diagnoses, medication, treatments, injury resolution and much more.

“Another way to think about all of this is a person who collects all the information and tells you the best way to do things and what may help and hurt people so we can make better decisions,” explained Dr. Leamor Kahanov, Dean of Health Sciences and Education.

Kahanov said the university is currently hiring a program director who will help design and manage the program.

The program director position will be begin next fall and by fall 2019, Kahanovs hope they will have a reconceived program. The program will also be in collaboration with the College of Business and Communications and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Kahanov and the department already have a few candidates for the job. The university is looking for someone with a rich history in population data analytics and experience with patient safety and quality assurance in health care. The job would  a full-time ten month program director position. Some responsibilities include new program development, teaching, active participation in scholarly activities, student recruitment and advisement and service to the University, community and profession. A PhD or doctorate is required.

Kahanov said the program may be a Master’s degree for the first component with a potential certificate component.  Faculty will then explore how to incorporate it into a bachelor’s level degree. A similar existing program is the Health Care Informatics program. Unfortunately, that program was put on hold because of the lack of students. Students currently enrolled will go on to graduate, but there will be no new students added until the department reconfigures it, officials said.

Kahanov has multiple goals for the program.

“This is a critical need in our area. The direction of patient safety and patient care is predicated now on data we will receive and analyzing that data to better serve our population,” said Kahanov.

She wants to be able to inform health care providers, and those learning to work in that field, to understand population and health care analytics so they can serve their patients and clients better.

“There is all of this information to help inform us how to better treat our patients and clients, what the best medication and the best treatment and how do we do this to make people better faster? Someone needs to look at of that,” Kahanov said.

People in the health field of data analytics will also help in determining the most efficient way to treat their patients.  Having this data readily available will help improve a patients’ experiences and treatment.

“Someone needs to be helping us with that piece, and that is why it is important and what these people are doing,” said Kahanov.

Kahanov expects to incorporate some of the program’s curriculum and information into other health care programs to help better prepare students.

“The direction that health care is going is very data driven, and there is so much data that an individual practitioner cannot synthesize it all and we are starting to need professionals who can to help us do our job better,” said Kahanov.