IEHP story

IEHP and Keck Graduate Institute Partnership Delivers New Healthcare Analytics Course

Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) has partnered with Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) to develop and deliver a one-semester graduate-level course, Introduction to Healthcare Analytics, designed to help IEHP Team Members transition into a professional role as a healthcare analyst. 

An essential role in the health plan’s operation, a healthcare analyst communicates with data science and other information technology experts to obtain needed data resources. The healthcare analyst also applies technical solutions to serve internal and external clients’ information and data needs. 

KGI’s partnership’s need came after the health plan had more open analyst positions than qualified candidates. To support the health plan’s workforce, KGI proposed to become IEHP’s educational partner and collaborate to educate their existing staff to take on these more technical roles. 

“We were looking to get more into corporate education—and, as their educational partner—we could provide their existing workforce with additional skills so they can concentrate their resources in other areas as opposed to hiring, which is traditionally very costly,” said Beth Walkenbach, KGI Assistant Director of Corporate Partnerships.

Before the partnership was established, IEHP was in the process of constructing an additional building on their campus that would become a designated training and education center. Additionally, IEHP and KGI already had established common interests, partnerships, and natural synergies, complimenting the partnership’s establishment. 

“This partnership allows for new opportunities and professional growth for many of our IEHP Team Members,” said Jarrod McNaughton, IEHP Chief Executive Officer. “Our Team Members are truly the heart of the health plan, and it is a privilege. We are so grateful to the leadership team at KGI for jumping in and offering resources to help our Team Members soar to new heights.”

In collaboration with KGI President Sheldon Schuster, KGI Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kelly Esperias, and McNaughton, KGI’s Director of Instructional Design George Bradford and KGI Professor of Administrative Sciences Gregory Reardon scoped the project in the early stages and laid the groundwork for the course. Walkenbach was brought in to manage the project and facilitate communication with IEHP stakeholders.

KGI has a longstanding tradition of developing partnerships to support corporate organizations from a variety of industries. When establishing partnerships, KGI aims to collaborate with organizations that value education and have specific areas where KGI can serve as a bridge or support mechanism.        

“One of our advantages at KGI is that we are agile, so we can adjust to a partner’s preferred mode of operation,” Walkenbach said. “These partnerships help us to grow and stretch in different ways. There’s pretty much no corporate partnership that we wouldn’t explore as we see possibility everywhere.”

The initial course for Introduction to Healthcare Analytics will begin with 22 students and be offered twice a year. Courses will be delivered using a blended approach, outside of regular working hours and in a virtual environment.

The course’s objective is to prepare students to take on new roles at IEHP and work with large datasets, applying real-world data sources to assess such criteria. This includes patient health, quality of care, and payer claims. The course also educates students in the challenges and technical solutions related to the “four V’s” of big data: volume, variety, velocity, and veracity.

The course exposes KGI to a different student population than they are accustomed to having, as these students already have a great deal of industry experience. This partnership presents a new opportunity to KGI as an educational resource to a broader spectrum of their local population.

“We hope that after the course, the students have such a positive experience with KGI that they are interested in taking more classes with us,” Walkenbach said. “If the partnership goes well, ideally we can expand this course into a full certificate program in healthcare data analytics that would be usable for other organizations as well, but it would be great to have IEHP’s guidance on the development of that certificate program.”