Careers in Health Informatics
Health informatics is a rapidly growing field that involves collecting & analyzing health care data, and creating new job opportunities where computers and care providers work together. It’s pretty closely related to the field of public health. With the increasing use of big data analytics in the healthcare field, the demand for health informatics jobs is predicted to increase over the next decade. In this post, we will look at the careers in health informatics – overview of the field, career scopes, top universities abroad for Masters (MS), and jobs & salaries.
Careers in Health Informatics
Overview, Demand & Career Scopes, Top Foreign Universities for Masters, Jobs & Salaries
Co-authored by Parinita Gupta
What is Health Informatics?
Health informatics (also called healthcare informatics, medical informatics or biomedical informatics) is information engineering applied to the field of health care, essentially the management and use of patient healthcare information.
It is a multidisciplinary field that uses health information technology to improve health care via any combination of higher quality, higher efficiency urging lower cost and thus greater availability and new opportunities. This vast field includes computer science, information science, social and behavioral science, management science and many others.
It deals with the real-time data sources, devices suitable for data capture, and various methods for optimizing the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of information in health and bio-medicine. Health informatics tools include computers, clinical guidelines, formal medical terminologies, and information and communication systems, among others.
Health informatics is applied to the areas of physical therapy, biomedical research, nursing, clinical medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, occupational therapy, alternative medicine, and public health all of which are designed to improve the overall effectiveness by gathering high-quality data generated for patient health care.
What are the Demand and Career Scopes in Health Informatics?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, projects that employment in health informatics and related fields will grow nearly 17% from 2014-2024, much faster than average for all professions.
Graduates of the program will work in a wide range of settings and roles within them. Their activities will reflect the positioning of this program to prepare leaders at the forefront of a dynamic field. Below are the potential career scopes and job opportunities for health informatics graduates:
- Graduates with interests in human behavior may lead to visioning and strategy for new ways of leveraging information to promote the improvement of individual health behaviors.
- Individuals with entrepreneurial aspirations could lead to the development of applications or systems that improve the ways consumers and clinicians access and use information.
- Those with technical interests may find roles as application designers and developers, consultants, system analysts, and entrepreneurs.
- Individuals with analytical and quantitative skills can become quality improvement analysts, data miners, evaluation specialists, or clinical and public health researchers.
- Policy-minded graduates can be part of a new generation of informatics-enabled policy analysts and engage with ongoing health reform.
- Those who enter the program from the health professions will be able to assume positions as medical, nursing, or public health information or technology officers who envision new solutions to health care and delivery.
Why is Health Informatics Important?
Health care has been a constant topic of discussion in recent years, and health informatics has played an important role in trying to ensure everyone is provided with the best possible quality of health care.
The data volume of healthcare systems in enormous and is gaining fast momentum with respect to almost every area of research as well as industry. Health informatics can be found in every area of health care, including clinical, administrative, and economic.
Health informatics combines the fields of medicine, information science and information technology to formulate various systems for generating, validating, securing, and integrating health-related data. The purpose is to deliver effectively for health care to patients.
It involves bringing together various resources, techniques, and systems to maximize the use of the wealth of medical knowledge, technological advances, and drug breakthroughs that are available. It is used in a wide variety of health-related fields, including dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, medical research clinical care, and public health.
Key Implications of Health Informatics
Health care is getting more and more specialized, which means most patients receive care from as many as a dozen different people in one hospital stay. This increase in specialists requires an increase in coordination, and it’s health informatics that provides the way forward. Pharmaceutical concerns, lipid profile, nutrition, physical therapy, X-rays, discharge instructions — it’s astonishing how many different conversations a single patient may have with a team of people regarding care, and unless those conversations and efforts are made in tandem with one another, problems will arise and care will suffer. Health informatics makes the necessary coordination possible.
The most important way in which informatics is changing health care is in improved outcomes. Electronic medical records result in higher quality care and safer care as coordinated teams provide better diagnoses and decrease the chance for errors. Doctors and nurses are able to increase efficiency, which frees up time to spend with patients, and previously manual jobs and tasks are automated, which saves time and money — not just for hospitals, clinics, and providers, but for patients, insurance companies, and state and federal governments, too.
How Health Informatics is different from Bioinformatics?
Quite often, prospective Masters students get confused between Health Informatics and Bioinformatics.
Health informatics is mostly how computer science can be applied to healthcare, also with support from information science. What normally happens in this field is to improve the overall healthcare, how processes can be translated into algorithms that can be used for the development of information systems this streamlining the healthcare domain. The knowledge extracted from biology, clinical sciences, and basic sciences are analyzed for problem-solving and decision making within health care.
Health informatics assists in identifying trends that could give insights into the health condition of care processes and patients. By generating better information and knowledge from the patient’s data, Health Informatics helps and assists to deal with medical error reductions and care cost reductions thus improving the quality of care.
On the other hand, Bioinformatics is the field of science that includes various disciplines like biology, information technology, and computer science to merge and form a single discipline. The objective of bioinformatics is to enable the discovery of new biological insights, as well as to create a global perspective from which unifying principles in biology can be found out.
It is more like the layman’s term for a certain division within scientific computing known as computational biology. This usually connects more with the sub-field of molecular biology and microbiology, especially with the multitude of analyzers developed for these specific areas. Bioinformatics helps in understanding the role of DNA and sequencing genes and chromosomes. The experts in bioinformatics study protein structures using their functions and also build 3-D models of molecules, tissues, cells, and even entire organisms. This will eventually help to test drugs on these experimented models, instead of on living patients in the future.
Hence to summarize, Health Informatics is more concerned with structures and algorithms for the manipulation of medical data, rather than with the data itself. On the other hand, bioinformatics is concerned with information about cellular and bio-molecular structures and systems.
Health Informatics: Career Path, Jobs & Salaries
In today’s world, opportunities for people with degrees in health informatics are quite high and expected to skyrocket in the coming years. Demand for health informatics jobs is predicted to increase leaps and bounds. Medical facilities from hospitals to nursing homes are finding it tough to find qualified professionals to help successfully bridging the gap between manual record-keeping and electronic health and medical records.
Most graduates in the world with a specialized master’s degree in health informatics will be more likely to have a career waiting for them when they leave school than people from other backgrounds. The main reason behind this is that a lot of health organizations, hospitals, and clinics have begun to look for secure and accurate ways to manage health data so that they can practice evidence-based medicine. What’s more, physicians and other professionals are becoming increasingly focused on improving the quality of healthcare for their people.
Mentioned below are some of the opportunities graduates might have when they enter the workforce.
- Informatics Analyst
- Clinical Informaticist
- Electronic Medical Record Keeper
- Pharmacy or Nutrition Informaticist
- Nurse Informaticist
- Informatics Specialist
- Nurse Informaticist Informatics Manager
- Chief Medical Information Officer
- Health Informatics Consultant
- Informatics Director
If you pursue a career in health informatics in the future, a Master of Science (MS or MSc) in this field can expand your job opportunities thus increasing the scope for your salary package too.
While the salary of a health informatics specialist varies based on location, experience, and other factors, on average these professionals had a median annual salary of $61,000. With the professionals progressing in their respective careers, health information specialists receive higher salaries. With a good career experience and position, one can easily expect a salary to be in the upper bracket of $100,000.
Top Universities for Masters in Health Informatics Abroad
As informatics jobs are adopted across more health care institutions, the demand for professionals with a Master’s in Health Informatics (MHI) degree will continue to grow among private and public medical facilities, government agencies, public and nonprofit organizations, and others.
Few of the best Colleges / Universities offering Masters in Health Informatics courses abroad are:
Top Universities for MS Health Informatics (MHI) in USA
- University of Washington-Seattle
- University of Michigan
- George Mason University
- Johns Hopkins University
- Northeastern University
- SUNY Stony Brook
- Nova Southeastern University
- Marshall University
- University of California-Davis
- University of North Carolina-Charlotte
- Medical College of Wisconsin
- Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
- University of Utah
- Lipscomb University
- University of Kansas
- Medical University of South Carolina
- University of Pittsburgh
- University of Missouri
- University of San Diego
- Duke University
- Harvard University
Top Universities for Master of Health Informatics in UK, Canada, and Australia
- University of Leeds
- University of Manchester
- University of Sheffield
- University of Waterloo
- University of Sydney
- University of Toronto
- University of Wollongong
- Curtin University
- University of Victoria
- University of Melbourne
- Dalhousie University
About Parinita Gupta: Parinita is a full-time banking professional. Additionally, she is also a passionate blogger and digital marketer.
She mostly writes about the Banking & Finance, Technology, and FinTech sector. But, she also enjoys writing on other topics as well. You can follow her on Twitter.
Featured Image Source: HCDO
Author: Tanmoy Ray
I am a Career Adviser & MS Admission Consultant. Additionally, I also manage online marketing at Stoodnt. I did my Masters from the UK (Aston University) and have worked at the University of Oxford (UK), Utrecht University (Netherlands), University of New South Wales (Australia) and MeetUniversity (India).
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