What Is Health Informatics?
As the healthcare industry continues to grow, one of the biggest problems it will be facing will be the management of data concerning patients and their health. Hospitals and healthcare facilities must be able to effectively manage and access the right set of data from a huge number of files. This problem has fuelled the growth of a new industry within the healthcare sector, termed as health informatics. Professionals in this field are expected to be experts at using technology and software to make information management a streamlined and efficient process.
How Can I Enter This Field?
Undergraduate and graduate health informatics degrees are available for students who wish to enter this industry, or advance to senior-level positions within it. Undergraduate degrees are typically spread over four years, and cover a broad range of topics. Though the time required to complete them can be shorter or longer. Students will be taken through basic human anatomy and physiology, and also learn how to diagnose basic diseases and recommend treatment options. Following this, students will be taken through the latest technology in use in healthcare facilities across the world, and the way they are able to make data management easier. Once students have demonstrated an understanding of how these systems work, they will be taught how to analyze a healthcare system and identify which health informatics technology will be best suited for their task portfolio, and how to implement the system as well. Part of the undergraduate degree will also teach students how to use the data obtained from their health informatics systems to conduct research and identify patterns which can be used in developing healthcare policies. Graduate health informatics degrees will carry this basic learning to a more comprehensive level. Students will undergo advanced training in research modules and data analysis, along with learning how to develop health informatics systems to cope with the complex nature of the healthcare industry.
Are Health Informatics Degrees Available Online?
Students who are interested in gaining a basic understanding of the field of health informatics, and those looking to advance their careers can benefit from health informatics degrees online as well. These programs are open for enrollment for all students who meet the admission criteria. If accepted, enrollees are granted access to all resources via an online system, making it possible to work through the materials at your own pace. Those professionals currently working in the field and seeking to gain more advanced training can apply for admission into a health informatics online degree program and continue working their jobs as well.
Another reason to consider these online degrees is their cost. Typically, online programs are cheaper than their campus-based counterparts. Yet, these degrees do not limit your professional opportunities. Students with online degrees in health informatics can apply for the same jobs as those with campus-based degrees without any discrimination.One thing to be careful about when picking an online program is accreditation. If the program you are about to sign up for is not authorized to teach its curriculum by a state or national authority, you should not sign up for it.
In 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical records and health information technicians earned a median annual wage of $34,160. The job prospects for these professionals are quite positive, with an above average employment growth rate of 22% expected during 2012 to 2022. Students with a degree in health informatics typically hold varied job titles such as corporate technology or innovation officer, strategic planner, consultant, program evaluation manger, and quality improvement specialist. Potential workplaces for these professionals include hospitals, clinics, public health agencies, insurance companies, or research and development organizations.