Healthcare Data Scientist Qualifications, Skills, and Job Focus: A Content Analysis of Job Postings

Melanie A Meyer

Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Volume 26, Issue 5, May 2019, Pages 383–391,

Published: 01 March 2019



Growth in big data and its potential impact on the healthcare industry have driven the need for more data scientists. In health care, big data can be used to improve care quality, increase efficiency, lower costs, and drive innovation. Given the importance of data scientists to U.S. healthcare organizations, I examine the qualifications and skills these organizations require for data scientist positions and the specific focus of their work.

Materials and Methods

A content analysis of U.S. healthcare data scientist job postings was conducted using an inductive approach to capture and categorize core information about each posting and a deductive approach to evaluate skills required. Profiles were generated for 4 job focus areas.


There is a spectrum of healthcare data scientist positions that varies based on hiring organization type, job level, and job focus area. The focus of these positions ranged from performance improvement to innovation and product development with some positions more broadly defined to address organizational-specific needs. Based on the job posting sample, the primary skills these organizations required were statistics, R, machine learning, storytelling, and Python.


These results may be useful to organizations as they deepen our understanding of the qualifications and skills required for data scientist positions and may aid organizations in identifying skills and knowledge areas that have been overlooked in position postings.