Health Informatics Overview
Health Informatics (aka medical informatics and biomedical informatics) is the multidisciplinary scientific field concerned with the acquisition, storage, retrieval, communication, and optimal use of health information for problem solving and decision-making. Health Informatics has as its driving goals the improvement of health and healthcare, and the advancement of the biomedical and health sciences.
Health Informatics enhances the development and assessment of tools used representing medical data, aiding medical decision making, defining medical language and classification systems, as well as computer aided learning and healthcare IT strategy.
The sub-disciplines of health informatics relate to various health-related professions, domains or activities to which informatics methods are applied. While the issues and challenges in these sub-disciplines can vary widely, they all share common informatics techniques. Within each sub-discipline, common elements are coupled with domain specific informatics, computational and analytical approaches.
Sub-disciplines in Health Informatics include:
- Clinical Informatics
- Dental Informatics
- Nursing Informatics
- Pharmaceutical Informatics
- Public Health Informatics
- Veterinary Informatics
Health Informatics Career Opportunities
The demand for workers who understand health care, information systems, and technology continues to grow rapidly to meet the demand for trained individuals prepared to be administrators, specialists, consultants, educators, and researchers. Health informatics is a broad field and covers areas such as electronic medical records, access to knowledge-based information and digital libraries, digital imaging systems, telemedicine, clinical decision support, health policy and decision making, and much more.
This provides health informatics professionals with opportunities to move between and outside various clinical settings, work closely with a variety of health professional teams and form the hub of information systems and networks within healthcare organizations. All these enable the health informatics professional to operate in a more dynamic role than those usually found with other professions the healthcare sector.
Health informatics professionals can find career opportunities in a variety of settings such as:
- Hospitals and other healthcare providers
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Medical software companies
- Consulting companies
- Public health organizations
- Government and Non-governmental agencies
- Insurance companies
Health Informatics Salary
Since Health Informatics has not yet received a Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are no government statistics on earning potential for Health Informatics professionals. The nursing profession has had a specialization in nursing informatics for over a decade and is the largest health informatics specialization. The O*NET On-Line system reported 568,000 specialists were employed in 2014 and projected 191,600 job openings between 2014-2024. O"NET reported nursing informatics professionals earned a median salary of $85,800 in 2015.
Health Informatics Education
Education in health informatics covers areas such as the core sciences, database management, information security, medical coding and classification and health law. Health informatics courses also include medical terminologies, so that you can confidently converse with clinical staff regarding the medical records you're keeping. Since medical informatics professionals often work in teams or are in management positions, some degree programs offer courses on project management and organizational behavior as well. Health informatics jobs require candidates who have a passion for customer service, love computers, are team builders and team players, are problem solvers and can work under stress.
Master's programs in health informatics are appropriate for professionals seeking advanced training to become researchers and health IT directors and higher level managers. A bachelor's degree prepares graduates for entry and mid-level positions. A certificate program is intended to provide a shorter, focused educational experience with an applied focus.
Search for Health Informatics Programs
Health Informatics is a relatively new field. So, there is currently no official certification for health informatics professionals. However, the American Medical Informatics Assocation (AMIA) is working towards development of a certification process.
Health Information Management and Health Informatics Professional Organizations
American Medical Informatics Assocation (AMIA)
American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
4915 St. Elmo Avenue, Suite 401
Bethesda, MD 20814
233 N. Michigan Avenue, 21st Floor
Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)
Chicago, IL 60601-5800
230 East Ohio Street, Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60611-3270