In most circumstances, those who choose to pursue a master’s degree in healthcare informatics will have a skill set in both healthcare and computers. Specialists in health informatics are responsible for managing how information about the current health climate is collected, used, analyzed, and retrieved through record systems and electronic services. Today, it seems that the job outlook for people holding a master’s degree in health informatics is better than average.
What is Health Informatics?
Health informatics, otherwise known as health information systems degrees, uses information technology and computers to analyze and manage healthcare records and hopefully improve the outcomes in many healthcare situations. Health informatics issues deal with the devices, resources, and methods responsible for the storage, retrieval, and acquisition of information in medicine and health. The tools that these professionals may use include medical terminology, communication systems and computers. Most of the time, healthcare informatics professionals give other healthcare staff access to medical records, including doctors, patients, hospital administrators, nurses, and insurance companies. Today, this particular field is growing rapidly, with more on-campus and online master’s programs emerging on a regular basis.
Graduates who have a masters in health informatics generally take on positions as managers of health information. These individuals are responsible for bridging the gap between computer processing data and healthcare practitioners. Not only do they ensure that the software technology and computer technology used within a specific practice are kept up-to-date, but they also regulate the security and use of patient records on an electronic basis. Most health informatics professionals work in a variety of healthcare settings including federal government agencies, public health agencies, non-profit health and medical associations, hospitals, physician group practices, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies.
Job Outlook and Basic Salary Information
According to the World and U.S News report, most graduates with a master’s degree in health informatics will be more likely to have a career waiting for them when they leave school than people from other backgrounds. The reason for this is that a lot of clinicians have begun to look for secure and accurate ways to manage health data so that they can practice evidence-based medicine. What’s more, physicians and other professionals are becoming increasingly focused on improving the quality of healthcare.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health information managers fall into the larger employment category known as health services and medical managers. Employment for these professionals will be expected to grow by 23% from 2012 to 2022, and the BLS suggests that the median average salary is $92,810. However, the truth is that the salary graduates can expect to earn will generally depend on the job they get with their master of health informatics degree.
The following is a list of some of the most common health informatics job titles, and their potential salaries:
1. Health Informatics Consultant
A position as a health informatics assistant is an independent one that allows healthcare facilities to comply with federal mandates while still keeping their costs for in-house employment low. Health informatics consultants typically assist in a wide variety of tasks, including installing new software, updating networks, monitoring and troubleshooting systems, and training teams. Based on the area of specialty that the individual has, and where they actually get their job as a health informatics consultant, the salary information can change. However, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) suggests that the salary for this specific career should range within the upper $80,000.
2. Health Informatics Director
This career option in the realm of health informatics comes at a more executive level than that of a health informatics consultant. The position requires a combination of an understanding of technology and people skills designed to organize and integrate the flow of data across various divisions. Health informatics directors are responsible for training teams on technology, meeting with stakeholders and discussing changes to technological protocol, and recording, mitigating, and analyzing technology challenges and issues. According to the AHIMA, the average range of salaries depending on geographical location and experience can extend to up to $100,000 a year.
3. Nursing Informatics Specialist
Few people recognize the importance of effective and efficient patient care as intimately as the nurses who are frequently charged with providing it. Because of the level of expertise and compassion that goes into nursing, many healthcare settings are looking for nurses who have a specialist skill in informatics. These individuals generally will work alongside other nurses and healthcare providers in training new nurses on record keeping procedures, working towards lowering inaccuracy in patient care plans, and addressing logistics of technology in patient care. On average, the median salary reported for nurse informatics professionals is at $100,717 a year.
4. Chief Medical Information Officer
The responsibilities and roles that are taken on by chief medical information officers are likely to vary from one organization to the next. On a general basis, these professionals are responsible for ensuring that information management is able to run smoothly from one organization to the next, and they are interested in ensuring a high quality of patient care within various information systems. Other duties for these professionals might include conducting data analysis to improve IT infrastructure, or participating in a wide range of IT governance tasks. These professionals might also be responsible for designing software applications and training development teams for the future.
While many chief medical information officers will work in hospital settings, others may choose to work in academic settings, as well as in government agencies that drive policy decisions. There is a lot of education and experience required to be competitive in this field, and a master’s degree or PhD is often necessary for those who want to have the best opportunities. On average, the salaries for these professionals can range from anywhere in the region of $100,000 a year to more than $200,000 a year.
5. Electronics Medical Records Keeper
An individual who is responsible for keeping the records that ensure the smooth running of a healthcare department may spend days inputting patient data, such as conditions, diagnosis, symptoms, and treatments into databases that are used by the healthcare facility. These educated individuals are generally responsible for ensuring that patient records are properly and accurately filled out, as well as assign codes to patient data, consult with physicians to ensure that patient records remain accurate, and collect information for medical studies and researchers.
Because the Affordable Care Act demands that healthcare professionals must transition to using electronic medical records, there is an increased need to hire for this position. On average, the salary that electronic medical record keepers may make could be approximately $37,110. However, it is worth noting that managers who work in the social assistance sectors can earn a lot more, including a median salary of up to $131,600.
6. Healthcare IT Project Manager
Finally, a project manager for the IT services of a healthcare organization communicates with other members in a project to ensure that goals and objectives are completed on time. Professionals in this field are expected to create and execute project plans while making revisions as necessary to meet with changing requirements and needs. The average salary for a healthcare IT project manager is around $102,000.