The widespread adoption of Big Data and technology in the healthcare sector has created new opportunities for those possessing a degree in health informatics.
Unlike some professions, health informatics graduates are not locked into one career path. The healthcare industry offers an array of options when it comes to health informatics jobs.
Much of this is driven by the explosion in use of technology in healthcare. What started with conversion of paper records to electronic healthcare records has now expanded to include platforms that allow for the sharing of information across different computer systems as well as compiling and researching patient information to improve health outcomes.
Federal projections call for a 15% increase in jobs related just to managing medical records, just one part of this growing profession.
A Master of Science in Health Informatics can prove valuable. As challenges related to data and health informatics become more complex, top jobs in the field will likely require a higher level of education.
Certain areas have the most demand for health informatics workers. They include the following.
Hundreds of companies across the country focus on supplying and supporting information technology for healthcare operations. These companies develop, install and in some cases manage computer systems.
The goal of these companies is to not only provide the systems and maintenance, but continue to improve the interoperability and functionality of the various platforms they provide.
Health informatics jobs also are plentiful in the health insurance industry. Workers in this area crunch large sets of data to model patient information as it relates to insurance claims and costs. Conclusions from this research can impact pricing as well as aid insurance and health providers in formulating strategies to improve health outcomes for patients.
This sector covers a large swath of the healthcare industry. Jobs range from health information technician to nursing informatics specialist. At the top of the health informatics organizational chart are positions such as health informatics director and chief medical information officer.
In all positions, the focus is on the patient and improving the quality of care. The focus usually falls into four main areas: health information records, improving patient care and safety, better coordination of care through smoother communication of information across various platforms, and empowering patients with better access to information and strategies to improve their health.
As with any new innovation, advances in health informatics have led to the formation of consulting firms to work with healthcare companies. Those in this field have expert-level skills and knowledge in how to build successful health information databases, as well as managing operations of such systems. Consultants may also take the lead on training medical staff in the use of computerized record systems.
Dozens of agencies at both the federal and state level work with health informatics. These include various agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services. Some of these agencies are the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health.
Within government, health informatics professionals typically work with Big Data, a catch-all term for large data sets. These databases often contain millions of data points. Vast amounts of information must be collected, analyzed and interpreted by specialists. Often, this is done to reach conclusions on healthcare in a large patient demographic.
Conclusions reached in this type of analysis can dictate policy regarding preventative healthcare services. This can range from those with specific conditions (adult diabetes and heart conditions) to those living in under-served communities such as inner cities or rural towns.
A master’s degree in health informatics can help you enter into a number of career tracks. While the work always involves innovative technology, the application of those tools varies from area to area.