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 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 has been fueled by the HITECH Act, a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. 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 15% by 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In May 2016, the median annual salary was $38,040, with those working in hospitals earning $40,510, the BLS reported.
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. Although the BLS does not provide salary information for this position, Payscale.com reports the median pay is about $61,000 per year.
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 2016 for clinical data managers was $80,500; job growth is projected at 14% through 2014, according to O*NET OnLine.
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 2016 median annual salary for an informatics nurse specialist (also known as nursing informatics specialist) was $87,220 and is projected to grow 14% through 2024.