health informaticHealth Informatics

Many people with a business degree and an interest in a healthcare career might ask what a health informatics is? The field has been used in one form or another since the 1950s. As the healthcare industry explodes with new technology and new jobs, health informatics is becoming a highly sought career.

What is Health Informatics

Doctor R. Procter, in  US National Library of Medicine, defined it as “an interdisciplinary study of the design, development, adoption and application of IT-based innovations in healthcare services delivery.” Simply put, health informatics is the use of IT to standardize and monitor healthcare information. Traditional methods of recording and monitoring data were unreliable. Handwritten patient records, for example, could be difficult to read and mistakes in transcription were unavoidable. In addition, if a patient had more than one physician, doctors might be unaware of allergies or adverse reactions to medications, or even issue duplicate prescriptions. One of the tools utilized by medical professionals in health informatics is a portable monitoring system. This innovation records and analyzes patient vital signs constantly, alerting the doctor or nurse if human intervention is needed. This saves time and steps for workers who previously had to go to the patient room routinely to take blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels and other measurements. Patients with life-threatening or chronic conditions can even access the system from their home computers to learn about and monitor their illnesses.

What Training is Needed to Become a Health Informatics Specialist?

You can enter the field with a Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Informatics, or with a Bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field plus a Master’s Degree in Informatics, according to US Health Online. However,  most health informatics specialists have Master’s degrees.

The course work for the program includes:
• Computer science
• Management of data
• Statistics
• Bio-Informatics
• Clinical informatics
• Public health
Since health informatics is basically a business field, students learn standard business practice through an IT lens.

Related ResourceGraduate Degree Options in Computer Science

What Kinds of Jobs are Available in Health Informatics?

While this career path is diverse, some of the more popular positions are:

Consultants: Individuals with master’s or doctor’s degrees in the field can work as independent private consultants. These people are hired by a healthcare corporation to work on specific issues, and when their tasks are completed they return to their private practice. Consultants earn salaries in the upper $80,000 range.

Health Informatics Director:  These professionals train other technical staff about new technology, including standardized medical terms and other language specific to the system. They earn from $80,000 to $100,000 annually.

Nursing Informatics Specialist: This nurse trains other nurses in the IT system and in the protocols of using the system. He/she also monitors the data to avoid repetitions in patient notes or treatment plans. The salary for this position is in the $57,000 to $110,000 range.

Chief Medical Informatics Officer:  This executive designs software for the medical informatics system, analyzes its performance and trains other managers in its use and protocols. Salary is $100,000 to $200,000.

Growing Field

If you are looking for a growing field with stable job growth, health informatics might be the right choice for you. As more and more hospitals and medical facilities push toward online medical record keeping, the demand for more health informatics will rise.