- Public Health
- Clinical Informatics
- Health Technology
- Health Administration
Individuals pursuing degrees in health informatics have various specializations from which to choose. Health informatics is a rapidly growing field that has put qualified individuals highly in demand. Healthcare informatics on its own has been growing like crazy, and some of the areas of specialization within this field are growing at an even faster rate. Focusing on specific areas of specialization can make an employee even more valuable in the workplace. Here are some top health informatics specializations.
1. Public Health
Candidates who are interested in global and community health may find a specialization in public health informatics extremely satisfying. With more diseases being identified every year and the constant immunization controversies, qualified public health professionals are highly in demand. A public health informaticist uses his or her knowledge of technology to educate the public about health issues and provide them with good health care options. Their main duty is to ensure the important health information be accessible to the community.
Nurses continue to be the backbone of most healthcare facilities, and nurses with clinical experience are especially high in demand due to the knowledge and experience working with electronic health records (EHR) systems. In addition to the patient care they provide as licensed nurses, they can also use their knowledge of the EHR system to help maintain other databases, such as remote patient monitoring systems or disease registries, which will improve the quality and efficiency of health care. The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) states that nurses who study health informatics will have the edge in the workforce.
3. Clinical Informatics
Clinical informaticians integrate clinical research, information technology and patient care to provide high-quality healthcare services. Depending on their skill set, their job duties may include health system design and implementation, clinical decision support and promoting information technology in a healthcare setting. Students in this specialization will take courses in data and analytics; HIT standards; information system acquisition and lifecycle; data science; biostatistics and consumer eHealth. Their main job is to combine healthcare data with information technology to find ways to provide the best patient care.
4. Health Technology
Health information technology is probably one of the fastest growing specializations in health informatics. Way back in 2012, the AMIA estimated that about 70,000 health informatics specializes would be needed, and that was before the EHR system was fully implemented. Today the demand is even higher. This specialization isn’t necessarily for those directly involved with patients but more in the area of information technology, such as information system coordinators, web developers, IT project managers and other technology suppliers. Course topics in this specialization include an introduction to clinical thinking; telecommunication networks; health care organization operations; global health systems; big data management & analytics; project management and consumer eHealth.
5. Health Administration
The health administration specialization is for individuals who are involved in healthcare but in a management or administrative capacity want to work in various settings, including insurance, health care organizations, government and technology firms or consulting. This specialization is not for students who have been involved in work as pharmacists, nurses or physicians. Students learn how to obtain health information from patients, integrate evidence-based medications, establish treatment plans, synthesize physical exams and medical histories, and be proficient using an intelligent medical record system in any environment.
Healthcare occupations are expected to grow at a rate of 18 percent during the 2016-2026 decade as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This should result in about 2.4 million health care jobs being created by 2026. Many of these jobs will be in the area of health informatics, which will put an even higher demand for health informatics professionals.
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