Health informatics (HI) professionals use information technology to benefit the healthcare and human services industry. They create and maintain new methods for hospitals and healthcare organizations to keep records, making essential medical information readily accessible. Health informatics specialists also design new ways for hospitals and research centers to communicate with one another and although most industries use informatics specialists, they are particularly important in the medical field. Accuracy with medical information and how it is conveyed can mean the difference between life and death.
How Will Changes from the Affordable Care Act Affect Careers in Health Informatics?
Careers in health informatics are on the rise and are expected to grow, partly due to the enforcement of the Affordable Care Act and the accompanying health insurance requirements. As a result of these changes, governmental attention on health informatics and the looming deadline to implement insurance exchanges, demand for HI professionals is rapidly increasing. As hospitals and other healthcare providers will need to hire more professionals to meet these mandated requirements, more and more HI specialists will be entering the workforce. The Affordable Care Act and the insurance exchanges mandated a requirement for healthcare providers to implement electronic health records by January 2014 or they would be subject to penalties in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement . The federal electronic medical records (EMR) mandate will affect every healthcare facility participating in Medicare and Medicaid re-imbursements.
What is the expected growth in Health Informatics for the future?
The changes in the requirements for implementation of health records will help the growth employment of health information technicians to grow 22 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for health services is expected to increase as the population ages. An aging population will need more medical tests, treatments, and procedures. This will mean more claims for reimbursement from insurance companies. Additional records, along with widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs) by all types of healthcare providers, will continue to increased need for technicians organizing and managing the associated information in all areas of the healthcare industry.
Will These Changes Affect the Salary Levels for Positions in Health Informatics?
Salaries for professionals in health informatics are expected to continue to increase due to supply and demand. Those with graduate level degrees will make the highest salaries. The mean average salary is based on educational level, location of employment and level of responsibility and range from $40,998 – $97,304 according to payscale.com.Healthcare, already the nation’s largest industry, is also its fastest-growing. The graduates of today’s degree programs in medical informatics will be the pioneers of the field. The changes in healthcare and informatics will boost the need for the Healthcare professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary to develop, implement, and manage IT software and applications in a medical environment, and the field is only expected to continue to grow.