Data science is used in hundreds of practical applications across dozens of industries. As the US healthcare industry welcomes more new patients than ever before, data mining, cleaning and visualization will continue to be absolutely key to managing healthcare claims and to ensure that patients receive the high quality care they deserve while making sure resources are used wisely.
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The Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care employs data scientists that work with clinicians to apply data mining and statistical techniques to analyze health care data from throughout the state. One goal of these types of analyses is to identify clusters of high-cost patients with similar characteristics. The result is improved care coordination and subsequent cost control.
Hospitals have a strong incentive to use predictive techniques to control costs and streamline processes since the Affordable Care Act requires Medicare and Medicaid payments to be reduced for hospitals that have a high occurrence of readmission within 30 days of discharging patients.
Data scientists developed the LACE index to identify patients that would benefit from aggressive intervention. This index uses four common variables:
- Acuity of Admission
- Length of Stay
- Emergence visits within the previous six months
Conway Regional Health System is one hospital that has been utilizing the LACE index incorporated into software from the company Medisolv to help reduce the number of readmissions to their hospital. Ways to reduce readmission include intensively educating patients about their health conditions and monitoring them at home through telephone triage or home visits.
Starting Data Science Salary Ranges in the Major Cities of Arkansas
Burgeoning tech scenes in Arkansas are so promising that they received national press coverage within the past several years. For instance, both Entrepreneur and Forbes featured northwest Arkansas as an area that is making a name for itself with investors and innovators alike.
As home to Wal-Mart, J.B. Hunt, and Tyson Foods, northwest Arkansas has a high concentration of investors with the capital to fund innovation. Startups in this area work synergistically with the predominant local industries of retail and food processing. Acumen Brands received accolades in both articles for its stunning success in ecommerce.
A national study from 2012 singled out Fayetteville as a top tech spot. The Technology Works study by Engine Advocacy used data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify communities in the country that are seeing pronounced job growth in the high-tech sector.
The study rated the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers area as one of the top 25 metro areas in the country for high-tech employment growth between 2010 and 2011. According to The Free Weekly, the burgeoning tech scene in Fayetteville is attracting talent from around the country as well as encouraging local startups to stay in the area.
Central Arkansas has its own tech startup scene with the help of Innovate Arkansas which is home to 32 client firms in metro Little Rock and four in Conway. Thus, data scientists in both Little Rock and Fayetteville earned starting salaries far exceeding those in the other major cities of Arkansas according to tech industry recruiting firm, Robert Half Technology (2016).
This tech industry staffing firm places thousands of tech workers a year, which enables them to provide precise data on the starting salaries of data scientists around the US. These salary values do not include bonuses or relocation assistance. More than 70% of the data scientists surveyed by the executive recruiting firm Burtch Works were eligible for bonuses in 2014. Even greater numbers of data science managers received bonuses that year.
Robert Half analyzes starting salaries by drawing on US Bureau of Labor Statistics research that enables it to account for geographic variations in Arkansas. Shown below is an up-to-date and complete picture of the starting salaries that Arkansas’ data scientists can expect:
- Little Rock – $104,000 – $146,000
- Fayetteville – $104,000 – $146,000
- Pine Bluff – $80,000 – $113,000
- Jonesboro – $76,000 – $107,000
- Hot Springs – $71,000 – $100,000
Salaries for Data Scientists in Arkansas by Industry and Area of Specialization
In a 2014 report, the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services included data scientists working in both corporate budget controls and in the financial services industry on its list of promising occupations for 2015 and 2016. The Department went on to provide salary data for data scientists working in other key areas. The salaries for two specialized types of data scientists in Arkansas are shown below:
Operations Research – $98,000
Statistical Modeling – $93,600
Salaries for Data Scientists Working in Operations Research in the Fayetteville and Little Rock Areas
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides an estimate of starting salaries for data scientists working in the field of operations research in two key metropolitan areas of Arkansas as of 2014:
- Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers AR-MO – $125,570
- Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway – $93,280
Salaries for Statistical Modeling Specialists in the Little Rock Area
Shown below is an estimate of the starting salary for statistical modeling specialists working in the greater Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway area (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014):
- Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway – $81,100
The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics information shown here reflects salary data for broad occupational classifications that include data scientists. These estimates are expressed as the 90th percentile average to reflect the fact that data scientists are recognized as the top earners within each classification.