as healthcare in the us becomes more complex, the amount of data that is being generated by the industry also increases. this includes patient records and reports on the progress and spread of diseases within a country. as a result, there is a greater need for computer systems which are able to organize the data and make it accessible to all the relevant parties - hospitals, patients, nurses, and doctors. health informatics is the field which has been developed to address these problems. professionals in this field work with hospitals to develop computer databases and information management systems. they ensure that there is a smooth flow of information between the various parties involved in healthcare, and also take part in statistical analyses and drawing meaningful inferences from them.
entering the field
those wishing to become a part of the health informatics field may do so in a number of ways. obtaining a bachelor's degree in the field is one popular route. over the course of a four-year program, students are taken through all the topics involved in the field in comprehensive detail. professionals with bachelor's degrees are able to apply for entry to mid-level jobs in the workplace, and have a competitive skill set in place to help them do their job. however, these bachelor programs may be expensive. some people may want to transition to this field from another area of healthcare, but may not be able do so because they hold a full-time or part-time job. in these cases, obtaining a health informatics certificate online becomes an excellent option.
what will i learn?
the duration of online certificates varies for each institute. typically, the programs range between a year and two years. this may change depending on your own commitment and the workload you have. basic certification programs assume no prior knowledge and work towards building your knowledge in the field. you will start by understanding what health informatics is and how it can be used in healthcare. following this, you will be taken through the methods of creating databases to organize the information, and analyzing it when it is needed. the topics will vary in their technical depth; some courses will develop your understanding of computers, while others will focus on the healthcare aspect of the field.
there is more than one type of health informatics certificate online. basic programs are in place to help students build a foundation in the field. graduate programs offer students a chance to narrow their scope of learning and develop their skill set in a particular area. other programs may be offered which take the learning further and explore new concepts. the idea is to find a program which suits your personal preferences and professional goals.
some students use these certification programs to test their interest in the field, while others use it to sharpen their skills and apply them to their current job. others use it to gain an edge when they apply for graduate programs. for these purposes and more, online health informatics certifications are highly useful.