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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Two Graduates at DeBakey VA Medical Center Earn Healthcare Analytics Certification

April 26, 2013


Andrew Spiegleman, PhD (L) and Mark Penner, MHA
Photo by Fran Burke

M ichael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) employees recently completed coursework and received certification in Healthcare Analytics through the VA Office of Information and Analytics (OIA) Field Analytics program.  These new skills will continue to improve performance and decision-making, leading to more efficient Veteran services at MEDVAMC.

Mark Penner, MHA, and Andrew Spiegleman, PhD, participated in the OIA Field Analytics Healthcare Analytics Certificate Program (HACP).  The HACP is an online, distance-learning program that offers VA employees the opportunity to develop their analytical skills and earn a certificate in Healthcare Analytics.

"This certification program provides an inexpensive, but highly effective, tool to train employees in skills that will make us more efficient at MEDVAMC, but also will lead to improved services for Veterans," said Adam C. Walmus, M.H.A., M.A., F.A.C.H.E., MEDVAMC director.  "Understanding data and how to analyze it will improve our performance and decision-making, leading to accelerated medical center analytic capabilities and infrastructure improvement."

Each of the program’s four courses lasts 10 weeks and typically requires six hours for class time and homework per week. These courses focus on health care data analysis, systems improvement, data mining and project analysis. Graduates from the program have expressed their satisfaction with both the information and skills they have learned and the program’s return on investment.

"This course was a great way for me to sharpen my statistical skills and to become more comfortable with pulling, understanding and communicating data to others, said Penner."  "If followed and applied, these courses teach valuable skills in basic data analysis and project management, said Spiegleman."

The HACP is a training opportunity associated with VA’s Health Information Initiative (hi2). hi2 helps to build a sustainable, collaborative relationship between the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the Office of Information & Technology (OIT), transitioning VHA to a patient-centered model of care. hi2 is also building VA health informatics capacity and workforce to support rapid product development and delivery methods.

The program was developed in conjunction with the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System and the Midwest Mountain Veterans Engineering Resource Center (VERC) through its affiliation with the University of Nebraska Lincoln Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering.