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What is Health Informatics?
Health informatics or medical informatics is the area of study and employment that deals with computer systems and programs specifically tailored for use in the medical field. Individuals employed in this field will have to have an education in both medicine and computer technology, with medical knowledge being in the areas of terminology and procedure. Individuals are primarily responsible for maintaining databases as well as ensuring imaging and other systems are functioning properly in order to ensure the safety and effectiveness of medical procedures.
Educational Requirements in Health Informatics
A degree in medical informatics prepares individuals in the use of computers to record, maintain and deliver medical records. Individuals studying medical informatics will learn how to apply various technologies, primarily through computers, to manage information loads of hospitals and clinics, as well as private practices in order to have more complete records without the need for massive paper trails.
You can pursue degrees in health information starting at the associate level, with more duties and possibilities available at the bachelor's level. A master's degree in medical informatics will allow an individual to take on managerial roles and education physicians, nurses, and assistants in the use of electronic healthcare systems.
A curriculum in health informatics may include:
- Computers and Device
- Data Management
Employment in Health Informatics
Individuals seeking a career as a medical informatics technician will find work in a variety of health care facilities. Many hospitals have records dating back decades, and then need to create easy access and reduce storage, as well as create more thorough and legible records for patients has increased the demand for medical informatics technicians.
Depending on the location and the facility, the need for more individuals can be great as they move to digitally input records becomes more pronounced. Other locations will require individuals to maintain systems already set in place and assist in ensuring that information is accurate by working with physicians and nurses.
Some health care facilities may require certification prior to hiring. Certification can be earned through various certifying agencies either through completing an accredited program or passing a certification exam. Most certifications will require updates through continuing education courses or re-examination every few years. A certain amount of medical knowledge may be necessary to perform one's duties to the fullest or to find career advancement within the field.
Job Growth & Career Outlook in Health Informatics
Job growth is expected to be faster than average over the next decade forecast at 15% growth as the demand for medical professionals of all types increases due to an aging population and continued medical advancements. The average salary for medical informatics technicians is approximately $38,040 per year, with factors such as education, experience, longevity and location affecting starting salary and long term increases in pay.
Top Paying States for Health Informatic Professionals
- New Jersey $60,000
- Alaska $56,920
- California $48,840
- Maryland $48,730
- Colorado $48,730
Individuals interested in medical informatics may also be interested in medical assistant, medical office assistant, and medical transcription. Associations such as the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) may prove helpful to students and graduates. Both institutions help advance the field of study by providing vocational insights, resources, and research in health informatics.