One of the popular degree programs within the field of Healthcare Management is the sub-field of Health Informatics.
What is Health Informatics?
Health informatics (also called Health Information Systems) uses information technology to organize and analyze health records to improve healthcare outcomes. Health Informatics deals with the resources, devices and methods to utilize acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of information in health and medicine. Tools include medical terminology, information and communication systems and computer technology. Healthcare informatics provides electronic access to medical records for patients, doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, insurance companies and heath information technicians. The Health Informatics field is rapidly growing and there are many online and on-campus certificate and degree programs in health informatics and health information management at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
What are the Degree Options for a Career in Health Informatics?
A minimum of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree is required for most positions in Health informatics as it is one of the more technical and business-oriented profession in the medical healthcare industry. Those with basic knowledge and skills of medical coding, medical billing and the operational aspects of a medical database, will have the highest advancement opportunities. There are several options for Education for careers in Health Informatics and some include:
- Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics
- Bachelor of Information Technology
- Bachelor of Science Business—Information Technology Management
- Master of Science in Health Informatics
- Master of Information Systems
- Master of Health Informatics
- Master of Nursing Informatics
Additionally, students in medical informatics degree programs can choose to specialize many areas of IT including:
- Bioinformatics students specialize in all areas within the biomedical information system to understand retrieval, sharing and use of information critical to problem solve and make decisions in biomedical science. Included in this area of study is specialization in chemical informatics, nursing informatics and dental informatics.
- Public Health Informatics students study the use of information technology and computer science applicable to the methods of education of the public in health and healthcare with a focus on providing access to the public of the most current medical research.
- Organizational Informatics is the study of how the use of information technology and computer science can bring an organization together and how to allow proper communication within medical organizations.
- Social Informatics is the method information technology will affect our social environment and understand all components of computer science and information technology.
- Clinical Informatics involves using information technology in clinical research and patient care using information technology as a part of medical education as well as education of patients.
What is the Pay Scale and Job Outlook for Careers Within Health Informatics?
With the average starting salary for health informatics jobs currently at $43,600 annually, the salary potential can be well over $106,000 (commensurate with educational level). Individuals with an Associate’s degree should expect to earn less than individuals with Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees. Presently there are 442,290 individuals employed in health informatics, and at least 78,000 additional job openings are expected over the next 10 years. Most individuals in this profession work in hospitals, medical clinics, doctor’s offices or nursing care facilities.
Health informatics is one of the most in-demand sub-sections of the Healthcare Management industry. With a need for more trained professionals to manage health information the field of Health Informatics will continue to grow.