Some of the advances in healthcare delivery are in familiar areas, but what is health care data management? The term appears on college academics pages and in job listings. Students considering careers in healthcare want to become professionals in this new field.

Health Data Management is Not a New Profession

In fact, these people have worked in the health care field for many years. Some of them sit at desks in the medical records departments of clinics and hospitals, working with information collected from patients about their ages, their health problems and history and insurance coverage. What is new is the way this information is collected, the amount of information needed, the way it is stored and the way it is accessed. Most health data today is stored digitally and this requires a host of new skills. According to an article on the Health Data Management website, the sheer volume of data that is collected is an issue. In addition, more applications are developed every day to work with the data. More databases have emerged, too. To deal with this, the government has developed many new regulations to control how information is shared. Health care data managers must be abreast of new technologies and new laws to ensure the efficient storage and retrieval of the data to improve the quality of healthcare delivery and to make it profitable.

What Kind of Education is Required to Work in Health Care Data Management?

The answer depends upon what you want to do. Entry level positions are available without degrees. Of course, some computer skills are mandatory, but health care data technician jobs usually require an associate degree at most, and certification. These people enter data into the information system, utilize it in a number of tasks, and analyze the results. They often work directly with the patients in accumulating the information. More advanced positions in health care management require bachelor's degrees or graduate school. These professionals develop policy, plan information programs and administer entire healthcare informatics systems. In addition, healthcare managers must meet the standards and requirements to become certified to practice. The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education awards certification in healthcare data management and sets standards for education programs in schools and in continuing education.

What is the Occupational Outlook for Health Data Managers?

Technicians, the entry-level positions, are expected to have a 22 percent growth rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is much higher than the average rate for all professions. The median salary for a healthcare data technician is $34,160. Health data managers, who fall under the grouping of data base administrators, earn a median salary of $77,080. The projected job growth rate for that profession is 15 percent, which is still above average.

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People looking for careers in health care who have an interest in computer technology would be a perfect fit for this new field. These professionals make an important contribution to healthcare delivery by assuring that information on patient health is broad-based and accessible to healthcare providers as well as to financial departments of medical facilities. Consistency and quality, two attributes that were hard to maintain with a human-based system, are now standard in the industry thanks to health data manageme