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Health Informatics Career Paths

As health informatics has evolved into a broad and dynamic career, career path opportunities have become more diverse. Some of the opportunities can be found in:


  • Medical and Public Libraries: These are required to collect clinical information and need people with the appropriate skills to collect, retrieve and sort such information.
  • Hospitals and Nursing Facilities: Deployment and management of computerized medical records and information systems have given rise to roles for medical informaticians.
  • Insurance Industry: Roles can be found at insurance companies as they require people to analyse the wealth of information they collect from healthcare organizations.
  • Pharmaceutical Companies: Roles here would involve analyzing the patterns of the drug use and other services in the different population groups, prescribing patterns of physicians, and information from clinical trials.
  • Public Health Sector: Public health reports and health data compilation are just some of the duties that need to be done by skilled professionals.
  • Software Companies: There are now an increasing numbers of companies that produce software for use in the healthcare sector.
  • International Agencies: Agencies such as the World Bank, World Health Organisation, UNESCO, UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organisation are involved in planning healthcare and require experts in the field of informatics to do so.


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Some of the roles that can be found amongst those involved in health informatics are listed below. This is not an exhaustive list but should give a clue to the kind of roles those who undertake training in health informatics have to look forward to.

Academic/Researcher

The individual who wishes to pursue this route would have a good research track record in an area of informatics. Tertiary teaching experience and a doctorate would be advantageous. It would normally be in a tertiary institutions and would combine both active research and teaching. He or she would have a BSc in a relevant discipline.

Clinical Data Manager

The Clinical Data Manager is responsible for performing tasks associated with the full life cycle of data management including start-up through data cleaning and database security. Additionally the CDM must manage manual and automated data validation, quality control, query writing and integration of query responses. Prerequisites include; several years experience with Data Management and excellent communication skills. SAS and exposure to Oracle Clinical is usually required in North America.

Chief Information Officer (CIO) of a Healthcare organization (Chief Medical Information Officer)

The CIO is responsible for overall leadership, planning, development, and management of information technology resources across the Organization. The CIO will have responsibility for developing, managing, coordinating and integrating information systems, resources, and services to support the research, service and administrative activities of the business. A wide variety of individuals could take on this role, but experience in a consultation role would be a necessary element.

Clinical Information Manager (CIM)

A CIM requires project management experience and the ability to communicate with disparate groups of staff such as clinicians, managers and information specialists.

Consultant

The consultant plays a key role in health informatics organizations specifically in performance/operational management, strategic planning, financial and clinical analysis projects. Other responsibilities include;
Working on wide variety of projects, knowledge management within the organization, conduct and summarize interviews with client staff, assist in the development of proposals and detailed project work plans. A consultant could be from varied backgrounds; a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Science (BScN) or individuals possessing a Masters in Nursing, Health Administration or Business Administration.
Good communication skills are required as is work experience in a clinical settings.

Healthcare Webmaster

This position could also be known as Webmaster, Web Technology Manager/Director, Chief Web Technologist or Chief Web Officer. The Healthcare Webmasters responsibilities include Managing the technical end of Healthcare organizations Internet presence (Internet/intranet). This includes managing Web servers. He or she would supervise development staff and evaluate and recommend Web hardware, software and security solutions. A webmaster will need a grasp of Web and Internet technology as well as Web development tools.

Information Security Manager

This role acts to protect the confidentiality and integrity of information, and maintain the technical mechanisms of legitimate access to it. Other responsibilities include implementing the organization's information security policies and procedures and providing direct information security training to all employees, monitoring compliance with the organization's information security policies and procedures and internal control systems to ensure that appropriate information access levels and security clearances are maintained. He or she would also have to prepare the organization's disaster recovery plan and keep abreast of advancements in information security technologies.

Medical Director for Informatics

The Medical Director's purpose is to promote high quality cost effective medical care, patient satisfaction, and healthcare provider/staff satisfaction throughout the Healthcare System by facilitating the efficient use of computers and information technology. He would have training and experience in Medical Informatics and actively liaise with all departments within all organization and reports to the Medical Director. Project Management skills are a must in order to assist in developing and implementing strategies, for example developing and maintaining a clinical information system.

Medical Director of Information Systems

These individuals will be responsible for supporting the design and development of clinical information systems that assist clinicians in the delivery of patient care. They will participate in representing the needs and requirements of the physician community and serve as an advocate of management in promoting the use of information technology in the clinical setting.

Pharmacy Systems Analyst

This role performs routine and complex analysis, design, testing, implementation and support of application systems and projects. The PSE would also provide training, support and implementation of the systems used for processing medication orders and patient evaluations. A high degree of technical awareness is required and knowledge of the specific systems used within the organization. Training and management skills are required. Work will involve close interaction with Information Systems and Pharmacy staff to understand system programming requirements, capabilities and limitations. He or She should possess a degree in Pharmacy or Computer Science.

Software Engineer

The software engineer will participate in the development, implementation, and maintenance of software applications and databases using various relational database, client/server, and object-oriented tools and programming languages. Experience in Hospital environments or healthcare training would be expected.

 

 

 


Last Updated: 10 August 2006.



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