June 22, 2024

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From Patient Care to Healthcare: How Data-Driven Students Can Help Heal Both | Leeds School of Business

3 min read

Leeds School of Business and the University of Colorado College of Nursing roll out a new Healthcare track within the MS Business Analytics degree. 

A woman in blue scrubs leads a presentation to a team of professionals in a conference room.

Nurses, facing challenges to providing high-quality care to their patients, will now be able to improve outcomes by using data to inform pivotal decisions. The Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Colorado College of Nursing on the Anschutz Medical Campus have come together to offer a Master’s Degree in Business Analytics (MSBA), with a specialized track in healthcare.

For Kristi Ryujin, associate dean of Graduate Programs at Leeds, the partnership provides an exciting opportunity for both Leeds and College of Nursing students to enter a burgeoning field and make a difference. “Data helps inform decisions that save lives,” she says, speaking to students’ passion for patients.

The new MSBA Healthcare track prepares both nurses and non-healthcare students for careers in healthcare analytics, where they will turn big data into actionable insights that can improve outcomes for more patients.

Using data for good

“Healthcare analytics is really starting to explode. We need people who can look at big data across healthcare, manipulate it, and use it to make systematic changes that improve population health,” says Sharon Giarrizzo-Wilson, PhD, RN-BC, CNOR; specialty director of the healthcare informatics program and assistant professor at the College of Nursing; and a practicing nurse herself.

She adds that with the MSBA Healthcare track, students can rise to leadership roles, improve the quality of care for many more patients, build better infrastructures, and influence government decision-making through advocacy and working on related contracts and grants. She points out that people with these abilities are hard to find and thus, in high demand.

“It’s a complex specialty,” acknowledges Kelly Stamp, PhD, NP-C, RN, CHFN, FAHA, FAAN; associate dean of academic programs and associate professor at the College of Nursing. But it allows students to lead positive change and help more patients than they ever could before, she says.

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“With this new track in the MSBA, graduates will become pioneers in healthcare analytics.”

Sharon Giarrizzo-Wilson, director, Anschutz College of Nursing

Swapping skills

The degree was designed so that business and nursing students could essentially take each other’s classes. Business students interested in the healthcare field can learn about healthcare technology and the environment by taking two of the College of Nursing courses; while nurses can learn business analytics through Leeds’ 10-month master’s program.

“With data analysts from both nursing and business, it’s going to introduce a whole other level of collaborators that will help us see the vision of what is needed in healthcare. Together, they can solve great problems,” says Giarrizzo-Wilson.

Courses are taught by top faculty from both schools. The “online+” format, built with high-quality video content and remote synchronous lab time, allows students to engage with faculty and peers, cover technical skills, and learn from each other while receiving immediate faculty feedback and support. For nurses, the remote format means they can continue caring for patients, while also applying their new insights on the job.

This isn’t the first time Leeds and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have partnered on education. In 2019, the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Leeds rolled out the MD/MBA degree for physicians. By teaching medical students business foundations, they’re empowered to positively impact patient care and health care delivery—a shared goal with the new MSBA in healthcare.


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