What is Health Informatics?

Health informatics, often known as medical informatics, describes the acquisition, storage, retrieval and use of healthcare information to provide better communication among healthcare providers in the hopes that will help them provide the very best in patient care. Health informatics (HI) combines communications, healthcare and information technology. Since the Affordable Care Act’s federal mandate that all healthcare providers must convert to electronic health records (EHRs), the demand for HI professionals is growing more every day. The increasing use of EHRs will provide many career opportunities for aspiring medical professionals.

What is Health Informatics?

Health informatics or health IT is the integration of healthcare with information technology. Health informatics describes the technological tools used by doctors, nurses, insurance companies, health managers and government agencies to collect, store, assess and share health information. This is not to say that HI is the same as health information technology.

HI is more about the actual science and the how and why of health information technology. It applies certain informatics practices and theories in real-time situations to obtain better health outcomes. The perfect example of this is electronic health records. A patient visits a doctor, and the doctor or nurse enters the patient’s healthcare information into the computer. A week later, the patient is brought into the hospital unconscious. All the doctor needs to do is enter the patient’s name into the system, and the doctor will have access to all the patient’s information.

What Jobs are Available in Health Informatics?

Health Informatics is such a vast science or field that it offers many jobs and career opportunities. Here are some of the health informatics jobs available as well as average annual wages for graduates according to PayScale.

  • Medical coding specialist – $40,590
  • Health information manager – $54,031
  • Informatics nurse – $77,609
  • Clinical informatics specialist – $82,902
  • Nursing informatics specialist – $87,534
  • Public health specialist – $49,311
  • Health informatics specialist – $61,379
  • Healthcare administrator – $64,454

Degree Levels Offered

Candidates interested in pursuing jobs in the area of health informatics are not limited to just a few different degree levels. There are academic programs offered at every level from an associate’s degree right to the doctoral degree level. Many of the Health IT programs are also offered online.

  • Healthcare Coding Specialist Certificate
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Management
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technician
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics
  • Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics
  • Master of Science in Medical Informatics
  • Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics
  • Doctor of Business Administration in Healthcare Management
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nursing Informatics
  • Doctor of Computer Science – Enterprise Information Systems
  • Doctorate in Health Informatics

Related Resource: 10 Great Deals: Master’s in Health Informatics Online

Career Outlook

The career outlook for health informatics specialists is very good across the nation. For instance, medical and health services managers are predicted to see a job growth of 15 percent during the 2016-2026 decade according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s mostly the emergence of EHRs that has made the job outlook so good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that healthcare occupations overall should see a growth of 18 percent. As of May 2017, medical and health services managers earned wages ranging from $25,810 to $64,610 with the average wage at $42,820.

Health informatics has been ranked as the number one job in the healthcare industry, and it’s also a job that offers various career opportunities in various settings. Individuals who enjoy a challenge and want a career with many possibilities often choose health informatics.