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Shaping health care by the numbers

Friday, January 27, 2017

As health care constantly changes, we need the collaborators who can effectively develop and implement strategies with business partners. Health care economics professionals can take the numbers and review them in many ways to help create new insights, foster innovation and be the catalyst for change. Meet Satish Nair, Director of Business Intelligence, UnitedHealthcare Community & State Operations and learn about how these roles impact the future of health care.

Q1: What makes a health care economics career at UnitedHealth Group unique and what skills do you need?

A1:  To be successful, the following skills are essential:
         • Strong functional/business knowledge about the health care industry
         • Analytical and technical skills to query and analyze raw data and generate meaningful reports and analyses
         • Strong communication skills to be able to share findings with all levels of business users

Q2: What types of software do health care economics professionals use at UnitedHealth Group?

A2:  These are some of the tools commonly used by our health care economics:
         • Query/ Data extraction tools – Toad, PL/SQL Developer, SAS, DataStage , Talend,
         • Reporting and Analytics – Excel, Access, Microstrategy, Tableau,  Business Objects
         • Presentation tools – Powerpoint, Visio

Q3: What does a health care economics career path look like here & how does management support that growth?

A3: People who pursue their careers in the health care economics area usually start as analysts. As they gain more skills, knowledge and experience they have the opportunity to step into a health care consultant role and then to a sr. health care economics consultant role. For people who prefer to go the managerial route they have the opportunity to grow into a manager role. From that point, there are opportunities for career growth to move to assoc. director, director and sr. director roles.

Q4: What industry trends are important for health care economics professionals and how are we incorporating them here at UnitedHealth Group?

A4: The healthcare landscape in the United States has been going through major changes over the last few years. There is more need today than ever to identify opportunities to reduce medical costs and increase savings to make healthcare affordable. Heath care economics professionals play a key role in accomplishment of these goals by providing the required data and analytics support to business initiatives.

Q5: Name 3 challenges faced in health care economics roles?

A5:    • Staying abreast of industry developments in a business that is undergoing rapid transformation
         • Competing demands on their time from multiple high priority projects that usually come with a short turnaround time
         • Data and analytics projects that require complex programming skills and sound business knowledge 

Q6: What is the most interesting thing you’ve worked on here?

A6: My team was recently involved in the development of an application called the Care Provider –Early Warning System (CP-EWS). This application tracks claims data on a daily basis to identify potential claim denials that could be unnecessary and can be corrected quickly. The application helps our claims processing teams proactively reach out to providers and help resolve this issues without the usual delays associated with the claims payment lifecycle. This is a truly innovative solution that is helping to create a positive impact on relationships with providers.

Q7: Tell us how you started your career, in health care economics?

A7: I joined the company as part of the Community and State (previously known as AmeriChoice) Business Intelligence team. My initial responsibility was providing technical support for a self- service reporting platform called SMART Analytics. Over the years I was given additional responsibilities to manage teams that supported SMART Analytics and SMART Data Warehouse applications. The transition to health care economics role happened as I took on additional responsibility for managing the reporting responsibilities for the LTSS (Long Term Supports and Services) product for Community and State.

Q8: How has UnitedHealth Group has supported your career growth (tools, additional responsibilities etc.)?

A8:  I started my career in an individual contributor role. Within a few years, I was given the responsibility to manage a small team of analysts. Since then, my managers supported my career growth by assigning me more challenging opportunities with expanded responsibilities every few years.

Thank you for your insight, Satish. We appreciate the time you took to answer these questions about health care economics careers here at UnitedHealth Group. 

If you are interested in a health care economics career here, see our open positions.

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