Terence Kelley, M.S., is halfway through UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s Healthcare Analytics Certificate Program, yet he is already reaping the benefits. As a scientific lead and epidemiologist for the California Stroke Registry/California Coverdell Program at California Department of Public Health’s Chronic Disease Control Branch, Kelley has been applying what he’s learned to his current position.
“I provide epidemiological support using acute stroke-related data to provide feedback on quality of care at the local, regional and state level,” Kelley said. “I generate a lot of data analytic reports for hospitals and health care systems and train them on how to use our health information exchange system. This program has been a tremendous help in teaching me to apply scientific research methods.”
Experience with specific analytics software is crucial in Kelley’s role. While his master’s in healthcare administration had foundation courses that explored concepts and theories behind healthcare analytics and epidemiology, it lacked the applied training in industry applications that he needed.
“The Healthcare Analytics Certificate Program is more about the hands-on software programming that you need to specifically do healthcare analytics,” he said. “Throughout the program I’ve been able to really examine health concepts and outcomes in various populations. It’s great to have the additional training in SAS, SQL and Tableau Software.”
As a healthcare professional, Kelley specifically sought out a program that focused on healthcare data. He didn’t think a data analytics program that focused on other types of data sets would have fulfilled his educational and career goals. “I really tried to tailor my training in the healthcare setting,” Kelley said. “In this program we are working specifically with hospital data and major epidemiological studies, and that’s important.”
Another benefit of pursuing a healthcare-based data program is the opportunity to interact with peers from various healthcare settings, both clinical and non-clinical. “There are doctors, pharmacists and nurses, but there are also folks like me—researchers and data scientists—so you’re getting a breadth of knowledge from your peers,” he said.
Kelley was also attracted to the online aspect of the program. He felt that with a full-time job, dedicating a lot of in-person hours would have been difficult, so being able to follow along in various modules that are completely online was valuable.
“This is a very important program,” said Kelley. “You can get the same training through the SAS institute, but it’s more expensive and is not necessarily going to focus on healthcare data.”