What is a Clinical Application Analyst and What Do They Do?
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A clinical application analyst is responsible for evaluating software vendors, testing various software systems, selecting an appropriate software system for an organization, and helping with the implementation of the software. Typically, they work in clinical settings such as hospitals and other healthcare organizations and report to managers or directors. Clinical application analysts also perform troubleshooting, maintenance, and optimization of existing software applications.
These professionals work with business owners and vendors to evaluate and recommend solutions to complex problems and requests. Moreover, they look at various vendor demos and bring in other clinical representatives to help them with evaluation.
When it’s time to roll out a new software application, clinical application analysts ensure that the settings are configured according to the needs of their organization. They function as the primary experts to design, build, and install the application. Finally, apart from helping in the selection, evaluation, and implementation of software, they are also responsible for troubleshooting problems and questions from end users during training periods.
Responsibilities of a Clinical Application Analyst
A clinical application analyst is primarily responsible for evaluating and selecting major enterprise applications for an organization to enhance the safety of patients and the efficiency of employees. To do so, they first conduct a needs assessment to figure out the unique needs of their organization. They map out different workflows and come up with solutions to complex problems with the help of clinicians.Depending on the workflows outlined, clinical application analysts test various software applications to ensure that they meet all of the requirements. They are also responsible for helping with software design, implementation, and support.
To ensure that software is successfully implemented, a clinical application analyst must develop end-user training materials and help with training users. They should also ensure that everyone on the team meets the documentation standards. If any issues arise, they can help a hospital with troubleshooting by coordinating with vendors.
Clinical application analysts might also be required to create billing and other interfaces for a hospital information system and be responsible for preparing reports, dashboards, and analytical tools for supporting end-users. Finally, they must instruct junior analysts, maintain standard procedures, and ensure a uniform information system with the help of other clinical analysts.
Skills & Personality Traits of Clinical Application Analysts
Clinical application analysts have a combination of strong technical and communication skills. Skills such as troubleshooting, project management, clinical documentation, problem-solving, and critical thinking are necessary. Some of the primary skills necessary for a career as a clinical application analyst include:
- Knowing how to evaluate and test software applications. In parallel, clinical application analysts should be able to visualize complex processes with ease and invest in continued professional development.
- Being proficient in a variety of software applications and systems. They should have excellent working knowledge of web-based services; be well-versed in architecture, design, and implementation; and have some experience with designing systems and web server configuration.
- Providing excellent customer and personal service. Since clinical application analysts work with vendors and help train hospital staff, this is a crucial yet often overlooked skill. They should enjoy working independently as well as in teams.
Education & Experience Requirements of Clinical Application Analysts
One of the most common requirements for a clinical application analyst is to have an undergraduate degree in computer or information science. Some organizations and firms, however, might also hire analysts who have a business or liberal arts degree and sound skills in information technology or computer programming.
Since clinical application analysts typically work within the business side of a company, it may be helpful for them to have some background knowledge in business and management of information systems. Some firms prefer to hire applicants who have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) with a concentration in information systems, especially for positions in leadership. For more technical jobs, a master’s degree in computer science may be more appropriate.
Outside of a formal degree, continuing education is crucial to successful clinical application analysts. Analysts continue to take classes throughout their career to keep pace with new and emerging technologies. In a dynamic field such as computer science, this is a necessity to remain competitive.
Health organizations also prefer hiring analysts with an understanding of programs and health plans such as Medicare and Medicaid. Analysts working for a bank may need to understand finance. Having appropriate knowledge and experience helps an analyst advance to the role of a project manager and lead a team of analysts.
Industry experience can be obtained while the analyst is still a student by way of internships and work-study programs. These programs can help them develop technical, mathematical, and communication skills.
Where Do Clinical Application Analysts Work?
Many clinical application analysts work on-site in offices, although some may telecommute—meaning that they work from home or another remote location. They may be hired on a part-time, full-time, or contractual basis by firms and organizations to meet their business efficiency needs.
While clinical application analysts mostly work in healthcare organizations such as hospitals, non-profits, and government organizations, they may also find related positions in other types of industries such as finance, architecture, engineering, mining, retail, and insurance.
Clinical application analysts may advance into many different roles such as clinical consultant, applications coordinator, clinical informatics specialist, director of informatics, senior applications analyst, and interface analyst.
Clinical Application Analyst Salary
The salary of a clinical application analyst varies depending on multiple factors such as personal qualifications, specific responsibilities, and the size, location, and type of employer, among others. Although there is not official wage data on clinical application analysts specifically, there is information about a related occupation: computer systems analysts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of computer systems analysts is $88,270 per year. Not surprisingly, the more work experience one has, the better the pay.
Their career outlook looks bright, too. The BLS projects openings for computer systems analysts will increase 9 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is above average for all jobs in the U.S.