In the next few years, employment in health informatics is expected to grow at twice the rate of employment overall.* Technological advancements and regulatory changes to the U.S. healthcare system are fueling this growth. But how can you take advantage of this trend? The key is having the right skills and the right education.
What exactly is health informatics?
Health informatics is the study and implementation of resources and management techniques within the healthcare field. It uses computer technology to improve healthcare delivery services, information management, and planning, ensuring information is gathered appropriately, understood fully, and flows smoothly between physicians, hospitals, labs, insurers, researchers, and patients. In short, health informatics utilizes modern methods of data collection, analysis, and transmission to improve every part of the healthcare system.
What skills do you need to excel in health informatics?
While the following skills can be innate or learned through a degree program focused on health informatics, there’s no question that they can help you find success in a health informatics career:
Health informatics is all about the collection, categorization, and transmission of information. This is not a career for the disorganized. Instead, you need to be able to perform such tasks as coordinating schedules, determining costs and potential earnings, sorting data by relevancy, and balancing competing priorities. To do all this, you have to be able to keep everything organized.
There are a lot of ways to sort and connect data. But the key to succeeding in health informatics is uncovering ways you can use gathered data to improve your organization, whether you’re seeking to improve patient outcomes, improve efficiency, or improve the bottom line. To do any of this, you need to be able to properly analyze data, finding the patterns and connections that can help you develop solutions.
If no one understands the importance of your data, you can’t improve your organization. That’s why a successful health informatics technician or manager possesses excellent communication skills. You have to be able to take what you’ve learned and explain it to others within the organization. Then you have to explain why your suggested changes will improve operations.
Do you need a health informatics degree to work in the field?
There are multiple ways to enter the health informatics field. Doctors, nurses, healthcare administrators, and computer programmers have all joined the field by leveraging their existing skills and experience. However, even if you’ve worked in healthcare for years, earning a health informatics degree can help improve your chances of finding the health informatics job you want—particularly if you earn an MS in Information Technology with a specialization in Health Informatics. An IT master’s program focused on Health Informatics can help you learn how to:
- Utilize health information technology for knowledge management.
- Identify issues related to the implementation of the electronic health record.
- Apply the systems development life cycle approach to the utilization of health information systems.
- Describe key legal, regulatory, and ethical issues related to the utilization of health information technology.
- Apply information technology to improve healthcare quality.
- Contribute to strategic and tactical planning in utilizing health information systems.
- Articulate the organizational needs and readiness for adoption of health information technology solutions.
- Apply concepts of leadership in managing organizational change.
- Describe key financial indicators related to the utilization of health information technology in an organization.
- Recognize the language, terminology, ontology, acronyms, coding, and classification systems of healthcare and health informatics.
- Identify the applications of statistical software to support evidence-based research and evaluation.
Where can you earn an MS in Information Technology Specializing in Health Informatics?
The same advancement in technology that’s fueling healthcare innovations can also help you earn your master’s in information technology. Through an online university, you can earn your master’s degree in a convenient and flexible format that can allow you to continue working at your current job while you earn your degree. If you’re going to spend your career working with information technology, there’s no reason not to use the technology of online learning. It’s a great way to earn your MS degree and enter the expanding and exciting field of health informatics.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online MS in Information Technology program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
*Burning Glass, Careers in Focus, Missed Opportunities? The Labor Market in Health Informatics, 2014, on the Internet at http://burning-glass.com/research/health-informatics-2014
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.