A Guide To Health Informatics Jobs

Jobs in health informatics are growing at a rapid rate. In fact, employment of medical records and health information technicians is expected to increase by 20 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations through 2018, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Health information technicians, or health informaticists, are an integral part of the healthcare team. They help to incorporate advanced technology into patient care and facility operations. As technology continues to evolve, trained professionals are needed to help implement these changes. With an advanced degree in health informatics, you can take advantage of these opportunities and pursue fulfilling careers in a variety of settings.

Employment Data

Jobs in this field come in many forms. You could work as a health technology specialist, consultant, data quality improvement expert – the opportunities are endless. Industry professionals work in hospitals, correctional facilities, college campuses, private practices, and many other facilities.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, additional data about the field of health informatics includes:

  • Employment is expected to grow much faster than the average.
  • Job prospects should be very good, particularly for technicians with strong computer software skills.
  • Entrants usually have an associate degree.
  • This is one of the few health-related occupations in which there is no direct hands-on patient care.

A graduate degree in health informatics will lead to even more job prospects. Candidates with an advanced education are trained to be leaders in the field. Informaticists are responsible for implementing new software systems and training staff on the use of the electronic medical record (EMR) keeping. These duties require strong analytical skills and technical expertise. In order to increase your professional value, a master’s degree will likely be a required credential.

Jobs in Health Informatics

A master’s degree in health informatics will prepare you for a number of careers. A person with an associate’s degree can begin working as a medical records assistant. By obtaining a bachelor’s degree, you can expect more responsibilities and increased pay. A master’s degree develops the skills you need to move into healthcare informatics management or leadership. At this level, you’ll train physicians and nurses as they adopt new electronic healthcare systems and manage a team of technicians and other support personnel.

Job titles vary, as do career paths, but the most common for those in the field include:

  • Nursing information officer
  • Chief information officer
  • Medical informatics specialist
  • Certified health information specialist
  • Informatics consultant
  • Information systems manager
  • Clinical informaticist
  • Project manager in health information
  • Healthcare administrator
  • Medical and health services manager

Where to Find a Job in Health Informatics

Jobs in health informatics can be found in both rural and metropolitan areas. The cities listed below are the top paying metropolitan areas for this occupation. The salaries that accompany these jobs do not take into account education, experience, and other factors. With a master’s degree, you could almost double your income. Because health informatics is a growing field with a promising outlook, obtaining your master’s degree will give you an advantage over other candidates.

  1. Newark-Union, NJ-PA Metropolitan Division: $52,530
  2. Trenton-Ewing, NJ: $49,580
  3. Edison-New Brunswick, NJ Metropolitan Division: $49,210
  4. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $46,850
  5. Rochester, MN: $45,940
  6. Camden, NJ Metropolitan Division: $45,060
  7. Bethesda-Frederick-Gaithersburg, MD Metropolitan Division: $44,610
  8. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_26180.htm: $44,080
  9. Salinas, CA: $43,890
  10. Napa, CA: $43,670

Job Overview

The typical job duties of a person working in health informatics can expect to perform a variety of duties, depending on the size of the facility and level of responsibility. According to O*Net OnLine, the most common tasks performed on the job include:

  • Protect the security of medical records to ensure that confidentiality is maintained.
  • Review records for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with regulations.
  • Retrieve patient medical records for physicians, technicians, or other medical personnel.
  • Release information to persons or agencies according to regulations.
  • Plan, develop, maintain, or operate a variety of health record indexes or storage and retrieval systems to collect, classify, store, or analyze information.
  • Enter data, such as demographic characteristics, history and extent of disease, diagnostic procedures, or treatment into computer.
  • Compile and maintain patients’ medical records to document condition and treatment and to provide data for research or cost control and care improvement efforts.
  • Process and prepare business or government forms.
  • Process patient admission or discharge documents.
  • Assign the patient to diagnosis-related groups (DRGs), using appropriate computer software.

Electronic Management Records (EMR)

Health informatics plays a significant role in electronic medical records initiatives and other applications of information technology. An electronic medical record (EMR) is a computerized medical record, and the new wave of technology for medical practices.

As more hospitals and other healthcare facilities adopt paperless workflows, qualified professionals will be needed to train staff on how to code medical diagnoses, organize electronic files, and maintain secure databases. Paperless, digital, and computerized systems help to increase the efficiency and reduce documentation errors. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been an “increasing trend in EMR/EHR use among office-based physicians from 2001 through the preliminary 2010 estimates.”

Successful EMR implementation requires project planning, end-user support, and risk management. Operational inefficiencies can cause numerous problems on the back end. Properly trained professionals are needed to handle any issues that arise. Doctors and other healthcare providers don’t have the time to oversee EMR network operations. It’s the job of a health informaticist to ensure all data is secure and easy to access. EMR implementation typically requires the following series of steps:

  • Risk Management Planning and Analysis
  • Implementation Strategy and Planning
  • Vendor Management
  • Project Management
  • End-user Preparation and Training Plan
  • Test Plan Creation and Execution
  • Go – Live Support

In addition to EMR, health informaticists also implement other medical computer systems such as picture archiving and communications systems (PACS). These systems serve a multitude of medical specialties including radiology, cardiology, women’s care, and intensive care units.

Learn More about Health Informatics

To learn more about health informatics and what’s new in the field, The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) is an authoritative source for clinicians, scientists, researchers, educators, students, and other informatics professionals. Their site offers an extensive inventory of articles, research findings, tips on how to advance in the field, and other useful information.

In addition to researching online, conduct a self-assessment to determine current skills and interests. Health informatics is a diverse field so it helps to learn as much as possible about the industry and what it has to offer.

Self-Assessment Inventory

  • Determine the background and skills necessary for your field of interest.
  • Become familiar with various career options and latest professional trends.
  • Attend career preparation workshops or job shadow a professional in the field.
  • Research graduate programs and discuss options with an admissions representative.

With a master’s degree, you can move into managerial and leadership roles within healthcare teams. As the technology evolution continues, the field of health informatics will require skilled professionals. Our list of accredited schools below will link you directly to additional information about each program.

Featured Master's in Healthcare Informatics Programs

Health informatics is the study of how technology, particularly artificial intelligence, computer science, and informational science relates to the medical field. This field of study is typically applied to clinical care, nursing, public health, and biomedical research. The universities and colleges listed below offer online master's degree programs in this subject

Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University offers several graduate programs which could be completed in as little as 18 months. Their online Master's in Healthcare Informatics is designed to prepare students to lead the planning, design, execution and maintenance of health information systems.
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Walden University
Students studying in Walden's health informatics master's degree program will learn the basic skills required to use advanced technology in the healthcare industry, specifically applying health informatics to improve the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. Walden also offers two informatics tracks in the MSN program: an RN-MSN track and a BSN-MSN track.
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University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix offers students a Master of Health Administration in Health Informatics program that emphasizes the importance of technology used in today's healthcare facilities. Students graduating from this program will be well prepared to operate and adopt new technology methods in a healthcare environment.
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Grand Canyon University
America's largest online christian university, Grand Canyon University, offers a Master of Science in Health Care Informatics degree that provides students with knowledge of the concepts of systems life cycles, data management, and health informatics. Graduates of this program will be well suited for a career as a medical technologist or other upper-level healthcare professional. For students looking for a nursing-focused informatics degree, GCU offers an MSN in Informatics program.
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Kaplan University
The Master of Science in nursing informatics from Kaplan University enriches student's knowledge of dealing in technology-rich healthcare environments. Graduates of this program will be eligible to become nurse practitioners and will be able to pursue informatics leadership roles in healthcare, business, and education settings.
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