Careers in health informatics are careers that assure the health of patients and the efficacy of the healthcare world alike. What is health informatics? According to the National Library of Medicine, “Health informatics is the interdisciplinary study of the design, development, adoption and application of IT-based innovations in healthcare services delivery, management and planning.” If this sounds like an area of professional interest to you, you may then be curious as to some of the actual careers to be had in this IT-based healthcare profession today In that very spirit, let’s take a look at some great examples.
Electronic Medical Record-Keeper
In times past, medical record-keeping was much more strenuous a task, requiring lots of writing, typewriter work, and plenty more manual shuffling of stacks of paperwork. Today, much of this has been streamlined and adapted to the digital platform. Enter the electronic medical record-keeper. This professional essentially inputs and maintains all of the medical records from a particular medical establishment within the digital arena. In addition to doctor offices and hospitals, various forms of this profession can also be found hard at work within insurance companies, government agencies, and more.
Nursing Informatics Specialist
Nursing is an incredibly important subspecialty of the medical world. Gong a step farther, nursing informatics specialists act as figurehead nurses who are also highly skilled in IT skills applicable to the profession. These professionals work with other nurses as well as ongoing patient cases to oversee proper digital administration. In other words, the a nursing informatics specialist can be seen training and helping other nurses in digital record-keeping protocols, directly working to digitally improve patient cases and info, using other logistic approaches in patient care, and much more. The tech world really meets nursing here.
Director of Health Informatics
The director of health informatics is essentially an organization’s executive-level leader of all health informatics operations therein. This professional will work within the digital world as well as the regular world in order to thoroughly oversee the digital platform and employee matters alike. Frequent duties here include administering training, addressing major technological changes and challenges, working with other executives within the organization, and plenty more. In the end, this is often a very busy, yet highly rewarding, career in health informatics.
Chief Medical Information Officer
Chief medical information officers, or CMIOs for short, are another kind of leader in the health informatics world. This particular professional spends a lot of time working with data analytics to always assure the best health informatics systems possible. In addition, they can often be found designing and altering software and even training others in software development matters and projects. Additionally, in maintaining ethics and legal standards, this worker also spends considerable time working with various governance boards, attending meetings and participating in a variety of other ways.
Health Informatics Consultant
Finally, yet another great career in health informatics is that of the health informatics consultant. This professional acts as a valuable guide to companies and organizations needing some outside guidance in the way of the health informatics world. Individuals here may work for themselves or as part of a greater consultant team. Either way, it is crucial that this individual has a formidable background and understanding in health informatics so as to be able to help others with their complex health informatics challenges.
Next in the list of health informatics careers is the role of the clinical informaticist. Clinical informaticists experience a strong blend of healthcare and technology every day through their work in small practices and large medical operations alike. In smaller setups, the clinical informaticist may be responsible for organizing and maintaining patient records, making sure that data is efficiently provided to healthcare workers at that location, and optimizing their systems for better operation. In larger setups such as healthcare networks that span numerous facilities, these pros may do this same work and more or may even split up much of that work to be shared among other professional clinical informaticists working toward the same cause.
Healthcare informatics is not only useful for doctor offices and hospitals, but it is also very useful in maintaining modern pharmaceutical and nutritionist practices. In pharmacy venues, pharmacy informaticists may be put to work managing many customers’ accounts, healthcare data, contact info, and more. In a nutritionist operation, a nutrition informaticist will apply this healthcare tech to managing the wide array of data attributed to the many patients there and their individual needs, goals, statuses, and more. Decisions about food intake, nutritional plans, and adapting to new goals and programs can also be better made through the work of these pros and their informatics systems.
Informatics analysis, in general, is the application of deeper analyses into how certain informatics systems work. As such, today’s informatics analyst performs this deep type of analysis work in order to find better and more efficient ways for these systems to operate. In this role, analysis is specifically applied to healthcare questions and concerns, data collection methods, data usage methods, patient outcomes subsequent to informatics effects, and more. Insurance companies, tech companies, educational facilities, and numerous other outfits rely on the work of informatics analysts.
Professor of Healthcare Informatics
For those interested in teaching others, shaping the future of health informatics work, and even being uniquely privy to cutting-edge advancements in the field, the role of today’s professor in healthcare informatics might be the perfect career goal. Those working in this capacity teach a variety of subjects about health informatics while also researching evolving events in the subject area and working with others at the head of the field to stay up-to-date. These pros work strictly for universities and colleges but may also take part in numerous types of events to help spread the knowledge beyond just these venues.
Performance Improvement Specialist
As the name of this key role suggests, those working as performance improvement specialists work to improve performance. More specifically, the improvement of healthcare informatics systems, as well as the range of healthcare workers and their functions in an organization, are sought to be improved via this professional’s endeavors. This position is a mixture of analysis, human resources work, healthcare work, healthcare informatics, and sometimes other specialties and can keep the worker notably busy for the betterment of all healthcare outcomes in the organization. Hospitals, hospital networks, and other large organizations are the most common employers of these particular workers.
Healthcare Informatics Developer
Finally, another option among the many emerging health informatics jobs today is that of the healthcare informatics developer. Healthcare informatics developers work to create new informatics systems as well as to adapt and improve existing healthcare informatics systems. This job blends practical healthcare informatics with software development work in that effort, and those who work in this role offer a valuable service in continually advancing the informatics field as a whole.
Before searching for viable health informatics jobs, it’s good to be sure of having the right educational credentials beforehand. While there are always exceptions, in general, most health informatics jobs require a degree in health informatics. There are many such degrees that can be earned either online or in a traditional brick-and-mortar institution. These degrees also encompass the typical degree hierarchy, from the associate’s level all the way to the doctorate.
In addition to college degrees in health informatics, there are also numerous certification programs that offer additional training and experience. Graduate certificates are typically the best forms of these certificates. Aside from certificate programs and college degrees, there are no other accredited and nationally-recognized educational routes to becoming a health informatics professional.
Emerging Tech in Health Informatics Work
There are also some very high-tech concepts being introduced to the world of healthcare informatics. One of these is artificial intelligence, or AI. AI is proving to be highly beneficial to the informatics world with its ability to further automate many of the processes therein.
Nanotechnology is another emerging technology that’s proving to have a solid positive influence on healthcare and health informatics. Nanotechnology is the use of very small instruments and other tech for working on human anatomy at the molecular level. This opens all new doors into drug delivery, health monitoring, therapeutic applications, surgical processes, and much more.
In addition to nanotech and AI, cloud computing also offers great promise in healthcare and the informatics utilized therein. Cloud computing is the use of virtual resources via the internet and other computing networks and offers a much larger base of operations from which informatics and other technology can operate. Cloud computing’s real-time information sharing and high-volume storage capabilities are of particular interest to the healthcare informatics industry.
Related Professional Associations
For those interested in learning more about health informatics and the growing number of professional roles found therein, a number of professional organizations exist that can offer further information and additional resources. Some of these organizations are directly representative of healthcare informatics, while others can provide valuable information on the subject but do not necessarily reflect the industry directly. The following are some of those organizations of interest.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, is the US government’s official labor outlook organization. This government agency regularly collects information about virtually all types of professions and produces that information for the public to have free access to. Information such as current and future job outlooks, demand rates, pay rates, regions of greater or fewer employment opportunities for specific occupations, and more can all be found here. Current vocational data on health informatics is also represented here.
US National Library of Medicine
The US National Library of Medicine, or NLB, is another broad yet very helpful US government agency that offers a great database of information on healthcare informatics as well as all other medical subjects. This resource offers peer-reviewed essays and other research findings in these exact subjects. Examples of health informatics subject matter covered here include health informatics in developing countries, the effects of information technology advancements of health informatics, and patient safety in health informatics.
American Medical Informatics Association
The American Medical Informatics Association, or AMIA for short, is a leading organization directly representative of the greater healthcare informatics field and its many workers in the US. Here, anyone can learn about this field of expertise, how to get into it, and who to contact for further information. The association also offers member-only benefits for those who join it as members. These benefits include opportunities for professional networking throughout the trade, collaborative event opportunities, further research resources, and much more.
International Medical Informatics Association
The International Medical Informatics Association is yet another organization dedicated to representing the vast and growing world of healthcare informatics and the many workers therein. For non-members, the organization offers a vast array of resources about the field as well as valuable points of contact. For members, the resources expand greatly and include networking, research, and collaborative opportunities not available through other means. The IMIA was established in 1989 and has continued as a strong presence in the industry to this day.
National Institutes of Health Informatics
The National Institutes of Health Informatics, or NIHI, is a leading authority in health informatics, the careers, science, and ongoing advancements therein. While the public is welcomed by this organization and much information can be gained by researching here without membership, joining as an official member can be a great benefit for those working in the field. To join, one must be a student, professional, or teacher in the field of health informatics.
American Nursing Informatics Association
Finally, the American Nursing Informatics Association is one more very valuable resource for those in the field or interested in it. This association offers a wide range of member and public benefits alike but focuses more exclusively on healthcare informatics where it pertains to nursing specifically. Publications, conferences, information resources, professional points of contact, and more await the visitor to this organization’s website.
Humankind will always require the expertise of a medical industry. That medical industry continues to expand, now blending high-tech and medical approach like never before. These five great careers in health informatics provide some educational examples of what this rapidly emerging field is all about.
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