Jobs in Health Informatics

The exciting field of health informatics is gaining in popularity and growing quickly.

By University Alliance
image of a health informatics professional discussing healthcare informatics salary then accepting one of many health information technology jobs

By early 2014, all medical facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds are required to comply with a federal mandate that stipulates the electronic filing of medical records across a wide-range of healthcare settings. To meet the goal of this impending deadline, medical facilities from hospitals to nursing homes are scrambling to find leaders to help drive professional teams toward the successful completion of the mandated goals.

While many college programs can prepare individuals for the basic needs to enter the field, students and career changers need to seek out the educational opportunities that will lead to top jobs in the field of health informatics. While job descriptions and titles will vary from setting to setting, the following job descriptions outline a few of the most in-demand jobs in 2013.

1.  Health Informatics Consultant

This independent position allows healthcare facilities to meet upcoming federal mandates while keeping employment overhead costs low. Health informatics consultants can be brought in to complete a wide variety of task such as:

  • Updating networks
  • Installing software
  • Monitoring systems and troubleshooting
  • Training teams

While some consultants have been in the field for a significant number of years and do not possess advanced degrees, it is becoming more common for consultants in health informatics to hold a master’s degree. There is a wide range of salary potentials for consultants based on area of specialty and other factors like geographic location. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) reports the mid-range salary for this career path to be in the upper $80,000’s.

2.  Health Informatics Director

This executive level leader combines a penchant for technology with a wide array of “people skills” aimed at integrating and organizing the flow of data across different divisions. These leaders are also responsible for:

  • Training teams on new technology
  • Meeting with stakeholders and constituents such as physicians, nurses, and pharmacy staff to roll out technological protocol changes
  • Recording, analyzing and mitigating technology issues and challenges

Most health informatics directors will hold a master’s degree, yet some that have grown with the field may hold a bachelor’s degree along with many years of experience. While salary ranges will vary geographically, AHIMA reports the range to be from approximately $80,000 to over $100,000 per year.

3.  Nursing Informatics Specialist

No one knows the importance of efficient and effective patient care plans as intimately as nurses who are often charged with creating them and seeing that they are carried out. Because of this expertise, a number of health care settings are actively seeking nurses interested in technology for emerging health informatics jobs. Working directly with other nurses and health care providers, a nursing health informatics specialist handles details such as:

  • Training other nurses on changing record-keeping protocol
  • Working toward reducing redundancy and inaccuracy in patient care plans
  • Analyzing and addressing logistics of technology in direct patient care

4.   Chief Medical Information Officer

The roles and responsibilities of chief medical information officers will vary from organization to organization. Overall, they are responsible for the effective and efficient flow of information and construction of IT systems to support a high quality of patient care across multiple information systems. Other duties typically involve:

  • Conducting data analytics to improve IT infrastructure
  • Participating on a variety of IT governance boards
  • Designing and applying software applications
  • Training software development teams

While some chief medical information officers work in hospital settings, others may work in academic settings, as well as in government agencies driving policy decisions. There is a wide variety of experience and education needed to be competitive in top jobs in this field. A master’s degree or Ph.D. is often required for the most elite opportunities. Salaries range from approximately $100,000 to sometimes over $200,000 per year.

5.   Electronic Medical Record Keeper

Electronic Medical Record Keeper’s input specific patient data, such as symptoms, conditions, diagnoses, treatments, and other pertinent information into software programs and applications used by the healthcare facility. Hospital administrators, medical researchers and insurance companies use the information compiled by electronic medical record keepers to help plan future movement of the organization. Electronic Medical Record Keepers typically:

  • Ensure patient records are filled out properly, accurately, and completely
  • Assign codes to patient data within electronic medical record systems
  • Consult with physicians to ensure the accuracy of patient record(s)
  • Collect information for medical researchers and studies
  • Disperses information to those allowed to receive medical information such as insurance companies, family members, guardians etc.

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, there is an expected influx of hiring for this position, as this position will specifically satisfy the business necessity of meeting the federal mandate for information transmission through electronic medical record keeping.

6.  Healthcare IT Project Manager

Coordinates and maintains communication with project members to ensure objectives and goals are met and that projects are completed on time. Typically focuses on overseeing the larger and often highly complicated projects involving technology advancements.

  • Creates and executes project plans while revising as needed to meet changing needs and requirements
  • Identifies necessary resources needed for project completion
  • Discusses and reviews deliverables with project members
  • Minimizes errors and risk exposure

Other Considerations

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the growing need for skilled, versatile, and well-trained health information specialists will continue throughout the end of this decade. While a wide-range of opportunities exist, competition is toughest for top jobs. Completing a master’s degree online can help leverage the competitive edge and convince a potential employer that all best-practice skills are in place for maximum effectiveness on the job.

In addition to seeking a master’s degree to augment experience and complement prior training, active participation in a related professional organization is a great way to increase networking power, find out about local opportunities and explore leadership development through professional mentoring. For more information regarding online education to help goal-minded professional prepare for increased leadership opportunities, contact us now.

Category: Career