What is Health Informatics?

Health Informatics is a term describing the acquiring, storing, retrieving and using of healthcare information to foster better collaboration among a patient’s various healthcare providers. Health Informatics plays a critical role in the push toward healthcare reform.

Health informatics is an evolving specialization that links information technology, communications and healthcare to improve the quality and safety of patient care.

Differentiating from Health IT

Though the concept of health IT includes the use of technology in the healthcare field, health informatics is not synonymous with health IT. Instead, informatics is “the science, the how and why, behind health IT,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health informatics applies informatics concepts, theories, and practices to real-life situations to achieve better health outcomes. This includes collecting, storing, analyzing, and presenting data in a digital format.

Working in the Field

The tremendous growth in the health informatics field was spurred in large part by the acceleration of electronic health record (EHR) adoption brought about by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ “meaningful use” incentive program.

As providers move quickly to embrace EHRs, which are designed to store and share information from all providers involved in a patient’s care, health informatics specialists will continue to be in high demand as healthcare facilities implement new systems, upgrade existing databases and work toward achieving the three stages of “meaningful use.” ranks health informatics as the No. 1 job opportunity in an emerging industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of health information technicians is projected to grow 15 percent through 2024, which is more than double the average growth for all occupations in the U.S.

Job titles in this industry include:

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