Need some analytic talent in your organization? Want to become a data guru in one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy? EMHA’s Health Administration Blog interviews Younes Injar, MHA Class of 2010, Data Consultant for Membership, Market and Sales Analytics (MMSA) at Kaiser Permanente Health Plan, Inc. regarding health care careers in market analysis.
EMHA Blog: Why did you choose Kaiser Permanente? What role do you play at Kaiser Permanente?Younes Injar, MHA: Kaiser Permanente is known in the industry as a high performing benchmark. Kaiser consistently rates high in areas such as quality, member and customer satisfaction, innovation, technology, and efficiency. Kaiser Permanente has also been on several “Best Places to Work” lists and continues to attract and retain top talent, on both the Medical Group and Health Plan sides. I chose Kaiser Permanente, not only because it is a recognized leading health plan, but its corporate culture inspires continual growth and innovation. My role as a Data Consultant is to provide analytic support for developing new market strategies to grow Kaiser Permanente’s membership in the new ACA environment.
EMHA Blog: How would you describe a typical day at work?
Younes Injar, MHA: I have three specific perspectives I take into account on a day-to-day basis.
1. Client Focus – My daily job involves providing standard reports and services on time and accurately. I also proactively look for opportunities to innovate both individually and as a team, as Kaiser Permanente is always evolving and changing. In recent years, the health care industry has seen a lot of change, and Kaiser Permanente has been at the forefront. Kaiser Permanente is an organization that never stops evolving.
2. National Perspective – My team approaches its work with a national perspective. Our goal is to establish standards and consistency in partnership with functional colleagues in California and our five regions (Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Mid-Atlantic, and Northwest).
3. Extending Impact – In additional to analytics, I take on projects that extend our reach to new markets and new technologies, which allows us to capture, store, retrieve, analyze and save data in ways to potentially gain new insights and new ways of doing business.
EMHA Blog: What skills are most important for a career in health care analytics?
Younes Injar, MHA: Health care companies have access to very large data sets, therefore, an analyst needs to feel comfortable working with big data. He or she provides support for data-driven decisions by analyzing, manipulating, tracking, and reporting data. He or she needs to work with clients to develop the right set of questions and scenarios using appropriate Business Intelligence (BI) tools.
Not only being comfortable working around data is important, but also displaying high emotional intelligence is valuable. Having emotional agility and the ability to handle interpersonal relationships is important in a workplace, especially in a large organization such as Kaiser Permanente. At the base of emotional intelligence are consultative skills, which is another important skill.
Kaiser Permanente is a matrixed organization, and due to its structure, the ability to develop trust, giving and receiving feedback, and having difficult conversations are important skills for overall career development. Performing with grit (or perseverance and passion for long-term goals) is also another key characteristic to a successful career. The ability to see a bigger picture, to turn big data into strategic recommendations and an insightful story is also pivotal to an effective career in health care analytics.
EMHA Blog: Which business intelligence tools are most relevant for health care analytics?
Younes Injar, MHA: To be really effective in this field, you need to be comfortable around technology because there are so many BI tools available today, and each organization has its preferred tools. I recommend students become aware and have general working knowledge of all the various BI tools, and become an expert on two or three.
It is important to have a niche of expertise. I personally have worked with Microsoft Excel and Access, Toad for Data Point, SQL Management Studio, Alteryx, and Tableau. I currently enjoy using SQL Management Studio and Toad for Data Point to provide analytic support to my clients because most of the data is in Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle database platforms.
EMHA Blog: What is typical career trajectory in health care analytics at Kaiser Permanente?
Younes Injar, MHA: An Analyst One should have mastered the advanced Microsoft tools (MS Excel and Access), which one can do through many free online resources. With increasing knowledge, skills, and experience comes a promotion to Senior Data Analyst. To qualify for the next level, Data Consultant, one needs to be able to present data and analysis to senior leadership. He or she needs to be comfortable building advanced analytical models using any of the available BI tools.
After Data Consultant, there are different paths one can take depending on your interests; one career path could lead you to a position more data intensive and hands on with the data, or another career path could lead you to a position more managerial.
EMHA Blog: What made you follow the career path that you have chosen?
Younes Injar, MHA: My undergraduate degree is in Information Systems, and I knew going into the USC MHA program that I wanted to continue my focus on the use of information technology in support of business processes within the health care industry. I am excited about work and passionate about my role at Kaiser Permanente. I can see how my work affects the big picture and how it plays a role in strategic decisions in upper management.
EMHA Blog: How has the USC MHA Program helped you achieve success in your career?Younes Injar, MHA: The USC MHA Program put me at a competitive advantage above other candidates in the industry. I learned the valuable skills necessary to succeed in the health care industry. Classes that focused on Innovative Leadership broadened my business perspective and acumen and gave me insight into how to stay ahead of the curve. It was a combination of all the classes throughout the USC MHA Program, alongside peer camaraderie, and networking with current students and alumni that helped me to achieve success in my career.
EMHA Blog: What is your advice on strategy for obtaining a job at Kaiser?Younes Injar, MHA: Use the employment website, www.kaiserpermanentejobs.org, where you can find many positions, ranging from internship opportunities to full time employment opportunities, for both the Medical Group and Health Plan. I am also part of the genKP group, which is a multi-generational talent community that helps drive Kaiser Permanente’s next generation of care by attracting, engaging, and retaining future professionals. This group offers opportunities to mentor summer interns to help expand career talent. The best advice is to network with current Kaiser Permanente employees within a few different departments, expand your network, and be open to new opportunities.