A Day in the Life of a Clinical Analyst

Clinical AnalystMegan Landry’s Health Informatics career path has included emergency room nurse, Clinical Analyst, and Clinical Informatics Manager, and she is now the Program Manager for the Health Informatics programs at UNE Online.

In this post, she shares her experience as Clinical Analyst working within the field of Health Informatics.

Background and work experience

When Megan Landry began her career as an emergency room nurse, she and her team used a system of paper records and clipboards to manage patient information. The clipboards were functional, but limited in their effectiveness because only one person could use the clipboard at any given time. This restricted access to patient information, reduced the amount of knowledge that was able to be shared with the team, and inhibited the workflow within the emergency department.

Over time, it became evident to Megan that there had to be a better way to manage patient information, so she began to seek a solution. This search for a better method of information management was the origin of Megan’s interest in improving workflows, clinical outcomes, and patient safety through technology.

When the opportunity arose, Megan became part of a team in her workplace that was tasked with implementing a new Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. At that time they specifically focused on one element, referred to as an ER Tracker.

After successful implementation of the ER Trackers, Megan moved into the role of Clinical Analyst and became responsible for ensuring that each ER Tracker and documentation system continued to run smoothly. This included reviewing and analyzing the system data on a daily basis and ensuring that all systems functioned properly.

Megan’s next career move was to step into a job as a Clinical Informatics Manager. She was hired by a large healthcare system here in the State of Maine to manage the electronic health record system for all of the emergency departments in their network. She was responsible for overseeing a wide variety of departments ranging in size from a three-bed facility to locations with hundreds of patients.

What is a Clinical Analyst?

As a general rule, Clinical Analysts tend to have a clinical background.  There are exceptions, of course, but oftentimes they have worked in a clinic, a physician’s practice, or in a hospital setting in the past.

Clinical Analysts are often nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, or pharmacists. They are people who really understand the workflow of a particular environment, and are able to relate to the nuances of day-to-day processes in their particular area. Their primary job function is to maintain the system or module that they support.

Clinical Analyst – strong problem-solving skills

Within an established EMR system and/or module, a Clinical Analyst may be responsible for troubleshooting user problems and addressing the root causes of those problems on a day-to-day basis. Often the problems that arise are pure user error or simple misunderstandings, but sometimes there is something wrong with the configuration of the computer software or hardware. A large portion of the job is to investigate and problem-solve.

In a healthcare environment, EMR systems are continually being upgraded, and their functionality improved. It’s an iterative process. As a Clinical Analyst, you must be willing to be in learning mode on a continual basis. In any given week, you could be planning for the implementation of new functionality while simultaneously learning about upcoming functionality and supporting existing functionality.

Designing new systems – Clinical Analyst as liaison

Checklist for testing systemsIn the role of Clinical Analyst, you must also be very collaborative. When a new system is proposed, pushback is an inevitable element that must be managed. Change is not always welcomed in established systems. The Clinical Analyst’s role is to help users and stakeholders through that change as it pertains to managing clinical information systems.

In order to make the implementation process as smooth as possible for all parties, the Clinical Analyst interfaces with project managers, end users, and stakeholders to determine optimal workflow and goals for the implementation. The Clinical Analyst is there to help determine how users can work within the system and function at peak efficiency within their already established workflow.  They discuss possible options, explore potential limitations, and collaboratively arrive at a solution.

As with any project, acting as a liaison and mediator to move a project forward can be supremely challenging, but it can also be very exciting – and it’s always interesting.

Clinical Analysts always test first

Testing is also a significant portion of the job of a Clinical Analyst. There is constant collaboration among the other Clinical Analysts on your team to ensure that the system is working as it should, across all aspects. It’s critical that the system works perfectly, and it’s compelling to do your very best because there are real people, patients, whose lives depend on you on the other end. So you test thoroughly so you can get it right the very first time.

Using the training environment to ensure success

Implementation of a new EMR, or even the implementation of new features, is complicated. Prior to rolling out a new functionality, part of your role is to train users on the system that you had a hand in building. As a trainer, you are in the middle of the action on go-live day to help your colleagues through issues and to walk them through the steps they need to take to fix their problem.

No two days are ever the same as a Clinical Analyst.

How the UNE Online Health Informatics program prepares you

We have designed the Health Informatics program at UNE Online to prepare you for many potential careers, including that of a Clinical Analyst. In fact, as a graduate of this Master’s program, you will be prepared to become the leader of an entire team of Clinical Analysts if you so desire.

Getting your Master’s degree in Health Informatics prepares you for the next level of leadership. Your courses will require you to shed your granular how-to thinking and move to a deeper level of thinking, examining the theory and reasoning behind the bigger picture.

A Master’s in Health Informatics will teach you the skills that you need in order to arrive at elegant solutions that address the root causes of an issue. Those skills are applicable to many fields and careers – including that of a Clinical Analyst.

 


 

If you are interested in pursuing a career in Health Informatics, or if you’re simply interested in discussing the program, please reach out to an Enrollment Counselor at (855) 751-4445 or via email at informatics@une.edu.

Or, fill out an online application today at go.une.edu/apply – we look forward to hearing from you!

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