In a health IT world, the demand is high for both Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and the professionals who know how to use them following Health Insurance Exchange (HIE) standards.
Behind this alphabet soup of acronyms is a career field at the intersection where technology and communication meets healthcare: health informatics. What is so great about a health informatics degree, and why should you consider it if you’re contemplating a healthcare major?
What’s The Job Outlook in Health Informatics?
Health informatics is really a hybrid career field. The field brings together IT, communications, and healthcare principles and practices, all with the goal of securing patients’ safety and quality of care.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 22 percent increase in health informatics specialist jobs through 2022 — making it one of the fastest-growing occupations in healthcare. The pay isn’t too shabby either; the median wage is about $34,160 for those with bachelor’s degrees, and about $69,000 for those who hold advanced degrees.
If you’ve got a mind for math and thrive on collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data, this field presents a great opportunity for you.
What Does Someone With a Health Informatics Degree Do?
Access to electronic health information is the tour de force of health care these days. Health informatics specialists work with healthcare professionals to make sense of healthcare technology and bring efficient EHR systems to medical care centers.
Health informatics specialists are problem solvers. Say it’s October and you know that cold sufferers are heading to their doctors en masse. As a health informatics specialist, you might be tasked with figuring out what the flu rate might be based on those doctors’ visits and what that rate might mean for hospital admissions.
Best Schools for Health Informatics Degrees
The best schools for health informatics degrees aren’t all brick-and-mortar locations. Several accredited U.S. universities offer online bachelor’s degree programs in health informatics, a convenient option if you don’t want to stray too far from home during your first year of college.
It’s never too early to start thinking about grad school in this career track. Many master’s programs are also web-based, allowing you to obtain a health informatics degree at a master’s level of study. Some employers will even help finance the cost of your continuing studies.
The Ins and Outs of Internships
Internships are golden for health informatics students, especially for undergrads, and most degree programs require some type of hands-on study experience.
Healthcare firms like PEPID offer engaging health informatics internships. Students work in real world scenarios as they interact with healthcare information technology management systems. Keep in mind, though, that internships are highly coveted and competitive!
Final Words of Advice
Keep a close eye on your math and science scores. Getting into your school of choice is often challenging, and your grades can make or break that deal.
Does it sound like health informatics is a good fit for you? It is a rewarding career that can offer you both decent pay and job security.