Informatics Specialist

For many graduates, the prospect of finding employment that is in keeping with career designs may be a challenge.  Position openings are slim in many industries, and many entry level positions will not support a comfortable quality of life.  Careers in public health care have a number of specialties and openings on a variety of levels.  Jobs such as informatics specialist represent new positions that are also based on advancement in technologies.

Public health jobs have shown a consistent track record for stable employment, and are currently in an expansion phase.  This means that even entry level salaries are competitive and openings and advancement are easily obtained.  If you are interested in exploring this job sector, then working as an informatics specialist could be a good starting point.

What Is An Informatics Specialist?

An informatics specialist is a medical records technician who is conversant in electronic record keeping and computer technologies.  These individuals record and store data that pertains to patient treatments, medical histories, and insurance information.  Informatics specialists are also in charge of updating information and verifying accuracy.  They are able to amend and pull charts electronically, and will also verify authorization credentials for accessing records.

Informatics specialists would be responsible for the following duties:

  •   Converting paper records to electronic files.
  •   Entering new records and patient data.
  •   Setting up insurance billing.
  •   Managing the information data bases.
  •   Ensuring patient privacy with safety protocols.

Characteristics

Informatics specialists will also need the following professional skills for job performance:

  •   Organization:  You will be required to keep track of multiple streams of information.  You must be able to task yourself and manage your workload.
  •   Accuracy:  You will need to ensure that your record keeping is precise and without errors.  This may include checking information multiple times to verify your precision.
  •   Data entry skills:  Knowledge of medical coding and speed of entering information is as important as your accuracy.  You must be able to type without mistakes or catch mistakes before they are entered.
  •   Computer proficiency:  You will also need to have a good familiarity of the administrative operating systems and the software technology that is used to record data.

Nature Of The Work

Informatics specialists usually work in administrative offices or the records departments of healthcare facilities.  They may also work for the department of public health and maintain public records as well as patient histories from public care facilities.  This position may require you to have some patient interaction, but you will generally be dealing with healthcare professional and other administrators.

Education And Training

Informatics specialists will require a four year Bachelor’s degree for employment in this line of work.  Your course of study should include healthcare administration, computer sciences, medical terminology, and coding systems.  Some programs will have courses that are specific to this job outcome, and they will also include supervised training.  If your course does not include this aspect, then you may be required to complete an internship of six months to one year. 

Certifications are obtained through examination after you have completed your course work.  This status must also be maintained by attending continuing education courses.  You generally need 50 credit hours of continuing education over the course of three years, or else you will have to retake the exam to regain certified status.

Informatics specialists are in high demand as the mandate to switch over to electronic record keeping is coming underway.  This also means that entry level salaries and wages in general are quite competitive.  Starting pay for an individual who is just entering this career field is around $34,000, while the average rate for this position is around $40,000.  The top 10% for this job make close to $60,000 annually, and it is expected that these rates will go up as the healthcare system becomes more electronically based. 

For this same reason, openings in this field are also quite high.  There are currently over 186,000 employees in informatics and the employment for this job is expected to increase by nearly 23% between 2012 and 2022.  This is a change of almost 42,000 positions that will include entry level and higher pay grades.  If you would like to enter into the field of public health with a steadily growing and well paid career path, then informatics specialist could be an ideal position for you.


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