What Is Health Informatics?

By June 19, 2018 April 1st, 2021 Technologies
Health Informatics Guide

Health Informatics (previously known as Medical Informatics) is the discipline that is now plays an important role in all aspects of healthcare delivery, and public/personal health promotion.1 There are currently various definitions for medical informatics but it is essentially the use and sharing of information within the healthcare sector with the help of computer science, mathematics and psychology. 2 A more comprehensive definition can be found in the Handbook of Medical Informatics.

Health Informatics enhances the development and assessment of tools used representing Medical Data, aiding Medical Decision Making, defining Medical Language and Classification Systems, as well as Computer Aided Learning and Healthcare IT Strategy.

There are several organisations that are involved in the promotion of medical informatics. Internationally the most recognizable would be the International Medical Informatics Association, while within the United States, the prominent organisation is the American Medical Informatics Association. Within the United Kingdom, the British Computer Society Health Informatics Committee and the UK Health Informatics Society are the foremost organizations involved with health informatics.

These organisations are non-profit and help in educating the government and the public about the benefits of Health Informatics as a essential tool in the delivery of healthcare, promoting research and education through thier various work groups and help to set standards and policies that are would be adopted within the medical informatics society. They are good places for networking and sharing of ideas, so for anyone involved in or interested in Health Informatics, joining such organizations might be a good idea.

Health Informatics is made up of several subsets and biohealthmatics.com would be looking at all career paths.

Health Informatics Careers

In the medical world, it tends to be doctors, nurses, and other practitioners that get all the attention. But the technical backend of healthcare is crucial for medical workers to do their jobs.

For patients to be able to get the care they need, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities need to create and maintain complex records on patient health, tests, and treatments.

Who is responsible for developing and using the technology for organizing, storing, and retrieving those records and facilitating efficient communication in and between medical facilities? Health informatics workers.

Interested in becoming one of these vital administrative professionals? Let’s learn more about careers in health informatics.

Describing the health informatics field, the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) writes, “Biomedical and health informatics applies principles of computer and information science to the advancement of life sciences research, health professions education, public health, and patient care. This multidisciplinary and integrative field focuses on health information technologies (HIT), and involves the computer, cognitive, and social sciences.”

Sub-specialties of health informatics include:

  • Medical imaging informatics
  • Medical records informatics
  • AI and cognitive informatics
  • Neuroinformatics
  • Medical signal processing
  • Computer engineering
  • Clinical data analysis
  • Health IT consulting
  • Telehealth
  • Archiving

In the past, health informatics was often called “medical informatics,” which is a term you may still hear sometimes.

Important professional societies involved in health informatics include:

  • The International Medical Informatics Association
  • The American Medical Informatics Association
  • The British Computer Society Health Informatics Committee
  • The UK Health Informatics Society

Could a Career in Health Informatics Be Right For You?

Health informatics is a field that draws together knowledge and skills from different fields. So, it may appeal to you if you are good at synthesizing what you learn from different disciplines to create unified solutions.

While studying health informatics, you will learn about health administration, computer information science, and more.

Is There Demand for Health Informatics Workers?

Not only is this an exciting field which puts you on the cutting edge of health administration and computer science, but it is one where you should be able to find work over the years ahead.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies health informatics workers under “Medical Records and Health Information Technicians.” According to the BLS, 341,600 people were employed under that umbrella. The projected number for 2029 is 370,600, which represents growth at a rate of 8%.

The University of San Diego writes, “Fueled primarily by ongoing changes in technology that are reshaping the health care industry — most notably the federally mandated transition to the use of electronic health records (EHRs) — one of the nation’s fastest-growing job sectors is the field of health care informatics.”

Health Informatics Salary Information

Interested in seizing the growing opportunities in health informatics, but wondering what type of pay you can expect? Let’s take a look at some salary information from several different sources.

On the same page linked above from USD, the university offers this salary chart for various roles in the health informatics field:

Health Informatics DirectorMedian salary of $146,000 (according to the latest data from Salary.com) 
Informatics Nurse According to the HIMSS 2017 Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey, professionals working in this field reported salaries ranging from $61,000 to $115,000, while 57% of respondents reported having an advanced degree 
Clinical AnalystAccording to PayScale, the average salary for a clinical analyst is $63,823 per year, with a reported salary range from $40,928 to $88,186 per year. 
Director of Clinical InformaticsRecent job postings showed salaries ranging from $81,000 to $140,000, with a national average of $108,000. 
Health Care IT Project Manager  Average salary for a healthcare IT project manager is around $102,000. 
Health Informatics ConsultantThe American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) suggests that the salary for this career can range from $80,000+. 

Turning to another source, the University of Cincinnati Online offers these health informatics salary figures:

  • Health informatics nurse: Average Annual Salary Range: $58,049 – $98,831.
  • Health informatics specialist: Average Annual Salary Range: $40,760 – $91,021
  • Clinical Informatics Specialist: Average Annual Salary Range: $49,888 – $103,820
  • Clinical Analyst: Average Annual Salary Range: $47,207 – $91,961
  • Clinical Informatics Manager: Average Annual Salary Range: $61,742 – $125,830

Additional information on health informatics salaries is available at ZipRecruiter, where you can view a breakdown by state. Here are the top 10 highest paying states:

StateAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Massachusetts$100,757$8,396$1,938$48.44
Alaska$95,124$7,927$1,829$45.73
Nevada$94,372$7,864$1,815$45.37
Washington$92,834$7,736$1,785$44.63
New York$90,289$7,524$1,736$43.41
Maryland$90,104$7,509$1,733$43.32
Nebraska$88,379$7,365$1,700$42.49
Kentucky$88,287$7,357$1,698$42.45
New Hampshire$87,249$7,271$1,678$41.95
Virginia$87,219$7,268$1,677$41.93

Keep in mind that the cost of living is also higher in quite a few of these states, though not all of them (Nebraska, for example, is not an expensive state).

How to Get Started

If you want to launch a career in health informatics, you will need a degree in the field.

It is possible to get started with just a bachelor’s degree. But you can also pursue a master’s degree or even a doctoral degree in the field.

With a higher degree, more opportunities open up to you, and you may be able to earn more money.

Because there are so many specializations within the field of health informatics, it is important to be selective when it comes to choosing a school and a degree program.

You will need to put some thought into what aspects of health informatics appeal the most to you.

That way you can select a program that will help you develop the skills you need to enter your chosen sub-field.

Learn More

Excited about the possibility of embarking on a career in health informatics? Continue exploring our site to discover even more about this in-demand career in the medical field.

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