Health informatics is a relatively new discipline involving computers, healthcare, data, and that very data’s maximum use and secure storage. So, how exactly does it all work? Here’s the rundown of one of healthcare’s most important, emerging specialties today.
Health Informatics: The Basics
In the most basic of terms, “health informatics” is the modern, computerized management of medical data. The data being managed can be any data involving healthcare, patients, or the medical professionals involved in that healthcare. “Management” here refers to this data’s use toward improving healthcare outcomes, research, or patient management as well as its secure and confidential storage. Hospitals, doctors’ offices, medical research companies, and many others utilize health informatics systems today.
Specialties Within Healthcare Informatics
As healthcare informatics is a very multi-disciplinary science, there are a number of important specialty disciplines to be found within it. To start, creating and managing the digital infrastructure behind the health informatics systems themselves requires the very important disciplines of computer programming and engineering. Subsequently, at the user level, health informatics involves a great deal bioinformatics and clinical informatics. Beyond these areas, health informatics also frequently involves general medical knowledge, medical coding knowledge, research and statistical knowledge, and even plenty of general math and science.
To become employed directly in the field of health informatics today, there are several degrees directly pertaining to this line of work. The health information technology degree is one great choice in which the student learns all the ins outs of health informatics systems. Another great option is that of the health information management degree. This degree also focuses on health informatics but with a particular concentration toward overall safeguarding and management of sensitive healthcare data. In addition to these degrees programs, other degree programs related to specialty areas within health informatics, as covered above, also can provide great entry paths into the field.
Careers in Health Informatics
Armed with the right education, there are plenty of excellent career opportunities to be had in healthcare informatics. One great option here is that of the medical records and health information technician. These professionals are responsible for the regular management and utilization of health informatics systems and the medical data therein. Demand for those in this role is quickly on the rise, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics quotes an 11 percent growth rate in the demand for these particular workers.
Another, great opportunity in health informatics work comes by way of the role of the medical and health services manager. This manager oversees and coordinates the day-to-day activities of healthcare operations such as in doctors’ offices or hospitals. Per the BLS, those in this role can look forward to a healthy median pay of $47.95 per hour and an industry demand growth rate of an excellent 18 percent.
Health informatics is a rapidly growing field that catapults the old days of medical record-keeping comfortably into the computerized 21st century. As much of the rest of the world goes digital, so too has the medical world. In conclusion, for those seeking even more information on the world of healthcare informatics, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society is an excellent resource with which to inquire further.
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