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Healthcare Professional Interview

Health Informatics Specialist

Erik S.
Informatics Specialist
South Carolina Central Cancer Registry,
Columbia, SC

1. How did you become interested in health informatics?

I was working on a biology degree, and a friend told me about the health informatics degree program at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG). I researched it, and I liked that it included business and computer courses. Plus, I would be able to use my anatomy and biology knowledge.

2. What do you do in your job?

Our office maintains data on all cancer cases diagnosed at hospitals in the state. Large hospitals have their own registries,and they submit data electronically. Small hospitals don't have registries, so they send basic data on diskettes. My job is to make sure everything is added to our central database, which data collectors rely on when they visit the smaller hospitals to flesh out basic data.

3. What are your goals for the future?

I'm working on a master's degree in public heath with a concentration in health informatics. When I finish, I want to take on more responsibility on a statistical level. For example, I want to run data through software to create maps and reports that will show which types of cancer occur most often and if the diseases are concentrated in certain communities. The classes I'm taking now in my master's degree program will give me the skills I need. The neat thing about a health informatics degree is that it's flexible.

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Health Informatics Specialist - Fast Facts

  • Health Informatics Specialist is an excellent career choice for people who have a passion for the medical field and/or information technology. There is minimal to no exposure to patients.
  • Health Informatics Specialists help the healthcare system and healthcare providers to use medical information more accurately and effectively. They ensure that medical information is recorded, stored, and retrieved. They design health information systems and analyze data to improve the quality of healthcare and manage costs.
  • Health Informatics curricula can include: database management, information security, medical coding and terminology, healthcare law, health information systems analysis and design.
  • This is a relatively new field, so currently, there is no official certification requirement for health informatics professionals. However, the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) is starting to develop proposals to establish certifications.
  • Salary for Health Informatics Analysts/Specialist averaged $81,000 in 2008 ( with a range of $34,000 to over $100,000, depending on factors such as location, experience, employer and education.
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