Healthcare Informatics Q&A

Is this career path right for you? Check out this brief Q&A to learn more…

Q:  What is Health Informatics?

A:  As defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, health informatics is the interdisciplinary study of the design, development, adoption, and application of IT-based innovations in healthcare services delivery, management, and planning. (Source:  Physician Informatics Community, January 07, 2014)

This area of study that supports health information technologies, such as the electronic health record (EHR) and health information exchanges (HIEs), and the appropriate capture, integration, maintenance, transmission and use of health information to provide safe, effective health care.  The health informatics field incorporates computer technology, information and management science, data analytics, healthcare delivery, population and public health principles.

Q:  What do health informatics professionals do?

A:   Health informatics professionals can work in various healthcare settings and in a variety of roles.  One of the most common entry-level positions in this field is a Health Informatics Specialist.   In this position, the informatics specialist would perform such duties as EHR workflow design or redesign, troubleshooting software programs that collect or transmit healthcare data, project management for system implementation or optimization projects, support health IT initiatives and educate providers and other healthcare professional on system usability to improve clinical outcomes and patient care.

Other roles include Clinical or Nursing Informatics Specialist (typically, for those individuals with patient care experience and/or are licensed healthcare professionals, such as registered nurses) Healthcare Informatics Data Analysts (translate, interpret data for decision support and quality care initiatives), Research Assistants and Systems Analysts.

Q:  How do I know if the career is the best choice for me?

A:  This career path would be the best choice for individuals who:

  • Are seeking alternative and diverse opportunities within healthcare
  • Enjoy working independently and in a team with healthcare providers and other healthcare professionals
  • Are inquisitive, analytical and enjoy problem-solving
  • Enjoy using technology and computer applications
  • Are service-oriented and support the need for patient safety and improving the overall health of a population

Q:  What is the employment outlook for health informatics professionals?

A:   Since Health/Healthcare Informatics is a relatively new field, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has not yet created a separate occupation listing for this field. However, the BLS does expect an 18% increase in the growth of health occupations through 2026, much faster that the average for all occupations.