If you're studying to earn a Master's in Healthcare Informatics, then you may be wondering which of the many skills that you learn will be most useful to you in your future job. Healthcare informatics encompasses a wide range of careers. Whether you want to work directly with patients as a nurse or behind the scenes as a technical consultant, your graduate-level degree will help you provide valuable services to the medical community. Each career field has its own set of preferred traits, but there are some essential things that you should know upon completing a Master's program.
Technical and Business Competency
Front and foremost to any health informatics degree is technical competency. U.S. News and World Report notes that health informatics professionals are responsible for "providing the link between patient care and the evolving tech arena." Because this career field comprises roles like technical support staff, IT consultants and medical-based web developers, you'll need to know and be comfortable working with technology. Graduate programs focus on several specific areas within informatics. You may study courses such as database design and management, healthcare information management, security design and other similar subjects. It's not enough for informatics majors to understand technology, however, as this subject requires business acumen as well. Project management, work flow design, and legal and ethical issues within healthcare management are all topics that you'll encounter in graduate-level programs. Health informatics professionals will need to master both technology and business before entering the workforce.
Contemporary Healthcare Systems
In a slideshow presented by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Allen Kramer offers the history of health informatics. A system that utilizes technology within the field of patient care has been around for decades, and electronic medical records have been in use since the 1970s. America's existing healthcare system depends on technology. Whether it's keeping track of patient records or identifying new and better ways to deliver treatment options, technology continues to play a vital role in how doctors, nurses, dentists, physical therapists and others in the medical community provide care. As one pursing a master's in healthcare informatics, you'll need to hone your skills as a liaison between information and people. You may work directly with patients, or you might report to administration or a consultancy firm. Translating technology to people isn't always an easy task, so you'll need to invest in communications courses in order to take on leadership roles when necessary.
Outlook for Informatics Specialists
There's no set career path for an informatics specialist, but in general, you're more likely to work with medical records and healthcare technology systems. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15 percent job increase by 2024 for medical records and health information technicians, which is much faster than other occupations. You can also expect a median salary of nearly $36,000 per year, and you'll most likely work in a physician's office or hospital.
As technology evolves, the role of health informatics technicians will evolve with it. Today's medical community is facing a shortage of highly trained professionals, which opens the door to a variety of careers for people with graduate-level education. If you earn a Master's in Healthcare Informatics, you'll be able to develop appropriate skills for the career of your choice within the medical-focused information technology field.