Every day, healthcare facilities need to handle a massive flow of information. A solid system to handle the information is required to ensure accuracy and ease. Data needs to accessed, stored, and shared within a specified framework informed by regulations and legal processes. This is where healthcare informatics comes in.
If you love data and technology, a healthcare informatics degree may interest you. Healthcare informatics essentially involves analyzing and interpreting data as well as facilitating its storage, retrieval, and dispersal. A degree in healthcare informatics involves information science, healthcare, and computer science. You’ll get to design and build information systems in healthcare facilities and ensure the smooth flow of information among various stakeholders.
If health informatics is an area that you would like to pursue, work experience in a healthcare-related organization and/or a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration are required. It is a demanding field as it involves technical and business know-how.
Both bachelor’s and master’s degrees are available in the field of health informatics. Bachelor’s degrees that will support you in the field of health informatics are Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics, Bachelor of Information Technology, and Bachelor of Science in Business in Information Technology Management. A master’s degree would require at least 35 to 50 credit hours. Master’s degrees that you could consider include M.S. in Health Informatics, Master of Information Systems, Master of Health Informatics, and Master of Nursing Informatics.
Before you take up a master’s degree in health informatics, you need to understand the specializations that are available within the field and where you might best fit in with your interests and goals. Possible roles that you could explore with a health informatics degree are health informatics consultant, chief medical information officer, electronic medical record keeper, and IT project manager.
Depending on the role that you choose, your work may involve installing, monitoring and updating technology systems; identifying problems and offering the right solutions; designing software applications; compiling and sharing information; and finding and training resources and managing projects.
Specializations offered in health informatics are:
Bioinformatics: You will be working with biomedical information systems. The specialization also includes chemical informatics, nursing informatics, and dental informatics. The information that is handled is used for problem-solving and decision-making.
Public health informatics: You have to use IT and computer science to educate the public in the area of health and healthcare, and ensure that the latest medical research is available to the public through accessible channels.
Organizational informatics: You are required to use information technology and computer science to connect various stakeholders in an organization and ensure smooth communication through appropriate channels.
Social informatics: It involves understanding how information technology and the social environment impact and influence one another.
Clinical informatics: Information technology and computer science are utilized to create an information system for clinical research and patient care that may be used as part of the education aspect in a healthcare institution.
Health informatics is an exciting profession and it is growing rapidly owing to the advancements in technology and also the need to digitalize processes and replace paper records with electronic storage and access systems. Information technology and computer science are the answer to managing information. But first, you need to understand how the industry works, the kind of information that it requires and creates, how and why the information needs to be circulated, and to whom. A grasp of healthcare administration is key to implementing a reliable system using the right technology.
If technology and healthcare excite you, a career in healthcare informatics is ideal and as with other healthcare careers, acquiring the right degrees and specialization will help you find the right role in an organization and chart a career path.