What Can I Do With a Degree in Healthcare Informatics?

Healthcare informatics (HI) is such a rapidly-growing field that the job possibilities are almost endless. Since the passing of the Affordable Care Act, healthcare facilities everywhere are required to use electronic medical records (EMRs) for all their patients. EMRs, which are an important and very large part of the HI industry, are digital copies of a patient’s medical history and medical records. Individuals who are interested in the HI field can choose many fields or almost any degree level, depending on how far they wish to go academically.

What is Healthcare Informatics?

HI is the integration of healthcare with information technology and is found in almost every area of the healthcare industry. A perfect example of healthcare or health informatics is EMRs. After a patient visit, the healthcare provider documents the details of the encounter where it can be seen by other clinical staff in the facility.  A medical biller then reviews the patient chart and issues codes for the level of care provided and for any additional services that were provided during the visit. These codes are transmitted electronically to the insurance company as a bill for service.

What Careers Are Possible in Healthcare Informatics

Since the health informatics field has gone wild in terms of career opportunities, many colleges have implemented various health informatics programs at different degree levels. A candidate can find a rewarding and lucrative career by earning a two-year associate’s degree or can earn a graduate degree and pursue a high-level job. The U.S. News & World Report states that there are more than 70 advanced degree programs in this field. Most of these programs include healthcare courses, technical instructions, and on-the-job training. Here are just a few of the many careers a graduate of a healthcare informatics program:

  • Nursing informatics specialist
  • Health informatics specialist
  • Medical and health services manager
  • Medical records and health information technicians
  • Healthcare IT project manager
  • Clinical analyst
  • Chief medical information officer
  • Electronic medical record keeper
  • Health information manager
  • Clinical informatics manager

There are various degree programs available for someone interested in the field of health informatics:

  • Associate’s in Health Informatics
  • Associate’s in Nursing
  • Bachelor’s in Information Technology
  • Bachelor’s in Health Informatics
  • Master’s  in Health Informatics
  • Master’s in Nursing Informatics
  • Master’s in Information Systems

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected employment growth of 18% for health occupations during the 2016-2026 decade, which should result in about 2.4 million new health care jobs. Many of these jobs will be waiting for graduates of HI degree programs, and they should offer excellent career growth. Here are some occupations for graduates as well as the job outlook for the next decade.

  • Nursing informatics specialist – 15%
  • Medical and health services manager – 20%
  • Medical records and health information technicians – 13%
  • Healthcare IT project manager – 20%
  • Chief medical information officer – 12%
  • Electronic medical record keeper – 13%
  • Health information manager – 23%
  • Clinical and computer systems analyst – 9%

Unlike in the past when high school graduates could find jobs and receive on-the-job training, more and more jobs today require college degrees. Once graduates hit the job market they typically look for jobs that offer good wages as well as career growth and job security, one of the main reasons many people are choosing to earn degrees in healthcare informatics.

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