Globally, healthcare providers spend more than $100 billion per year on health IT such as electronic health records (EHR), online patient portals, health apps and personalized medical treatment, according to a 2016 article posted on CNBC.
As a result, career opportunities within health informatics, the development and adoption of IT-based healthcare innovations, are growing rapidly as organizations strive to improve patient care and engagement, manage costs, boost efficiency, and ensure privacy and security of any health information. Implementing health informatics can be useful in several ways:
- Collecting and analyzing large amounts of information to better monitor, prevent and manage disease.
- Using software that sends reminders to patients for immunizations, follow-up care and preventive treatments.
- Implementing devices such as electronic wristbands that transmit real-time location and wait times to help providers improve the patient care experience.
The growth in health IT adoption may have been fueled by the HITECH Act, a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, according to the CNBC report. The HITECH Act promotes the adoption of health technology, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Career Opportunities in Health Informatics
Health informatics professionals form the connection between technology and healthcare delivery. Informatics can be applied to all areas of healthcare, including education, research and administration.
Earning a bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration with a concentration in Health Informatics provides the background and educational foundation needed to pursue a career in this emerging field. Health informatics professionals can find themselves working in hospitals, government agencies, physicians’ offices and clinical and medical research facilities. Potential salary ranges and employment prospects vary based on a candidate’s work history, educational qualifications and local market conditions.
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians collect, organize and manage health information from medical offices or patients and provide analysis as needed. Their responsibilities include maintaining patients’ records and medical histories. Job growth is expected to grow 13% through 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.1 In May 2017, the average annual salary was $42,820, with those working in hospitals earning $45,580, the BLS reported.2
Health Informatics Consultants or Specialists manage systems and databases used to store and track patient information. As these professionals may develop health IT protocols and policies to comply with federal regulations, possessing advanced computer and networking knowledge is necessary. The BLS does not provide salary information for this position.
Clinical Data Analysts or Managers are responsible for collecting, compiling and analyzing information in a clinical setting or related to clinical trials. The median annual salary in 2017 for clinical data managers was $84,060, according to O*NET OnLine.3
Informatics Nurse Specialists use technology to integrate information, knowledge and data so that they and other healthcare professionals can provide better care to their patients. According to O*NET OnLine, the 2017 median annual salary for an informatics nurse specialist (also known as nursing informatics specialist) was $88,270.4
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Medical Records and Health Information Technicians, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm (visited 11/12/2018).
2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, Medical Records and Health Information Technicians, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292071.htm (visited 11/12/2018).
3National Center for O*NET Development. Clinical Data Managers. 15-2041.02. Retrieved 11/12/2018, from https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/15-2041.02
4National Center for O*NET Development. Informatics Nurse Specialists. 15-1121.01. Retrieved 11/12/2018, from https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1121.01
*National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth. Information provided is not intended to represent a complete list of hiring companies or job titles, and program options do not guarantee career or salary outcomes. Students should conduct independent research for specific employment information.