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Health Informatics

If you are interested in improving health systems and health outcomes and are adept at designing technology, health informatics could be the perfect career for you. This growing field—which is at the crossroads between information technology (IT) and medicine—is changing the way the medical field functions and shares information. If you want to be at the forefront of this revolution, read on to learn about the field, its salary and growth potential, educational requirements, and resources to help you in your career.

What Is Health Informatics?

As it is a relatively new field, health informatics is ever-evolving. However, the goal remains the same: to deliver medical data and improve information systems in healthcare organizations for better or more efficient healthcare. Health informatics may include designing enterprise software, storing and extracting medical information in databases, and measuring the impact of IT on health outcomes.

Health informatics is also referred to as clinical informatics, medical informatics, or health information systems. It can be seen as “defining the science, the how and the why, behind health IT,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Health informatics involves not just the creation of technologies and systems but also sifting through data to find what’s essential, delivering the data so healthcare staff and patients can access and understand it, and advocating for the use of technology for information sharing within healthcare organizations.

There is some overlap between health informatics and health information management, but the two disciplines are distinct. Health informatics focuses more on the interface of health data systems and people or processes, whereas health information management is more about ensuring the availability of consistently categorized, quality data.

Why Is Health Informatics Important?

Think of a time when a general practitioner doctor referred you to a specialist, only for you to fill out the same forms you did for your general practitioner plus additional ones relating to your situation. Then, the specialist read through your information during your appointment, perhaps limiting your time to ask questions. Did you think, “Shouldn’t this have all been sent over and analyzed before I got here?” Health informatics strives to eliminate this problem by creating systems of information-sharing, allowing doctors to focus more on patient care.

Additionally, on the patient level, health informatics has created safe ways for patients to view their health records online and visit their doctors via telehealth appointments without risking HIPAA violations.

Not only does health informatics improve patient care for individuals, but it also permits doctors to share information at large. If data is entered into a system accessible to those throughout the medical field, healthcare providers can better research previous cases and discover treatments and use that information to help their patients.

What Does a Health Informatics Professional Do?

Many healthcare informatics professionals work in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, medical groups, or insurance companies. Other health informatics managers work for technology companies—for example, private consulting firms that provide technology services or strategic IT advice to health organizations.

Job duties vary as widely as job titles in the field of health informatics, which can include everything from health information systems manager or database analyst to software consultant and knowledge manager. Responsibilities can include designing, developing, and maintaining IT systems that house health records and other patient care data; applying data management practices to ensure that accurate data sets are analyzed, and establishing processes for data entry and management to maintain data quality. Health informatics managers also keep on top of changes in technology and laws to ensure their locations are meeting standards and recommend improvements.

Although some health informatics managers work in policy development, this area is not all that common for people in the profession. Those who do choose this path communicate with healthcare professionals, technology companies, and lawmakers to create regulations that work both in practice and under HIPAA.

Health Informatics Manager Salary and Job Outlook

There are two fields recognized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics under which health informatics managers could fall: medical and health services managers and computer and information systems managers. Salary and growth information for both are below, alongside those for medical records and health information technicians—entry-level positions in this field—as many managers begin there and work their way up via experience and additional education.

Career 2019 Median Salary Projected Job Growth
Medical and Health Services Managers $100,980 18%
Computer and Information Systems Managers $146,360 11%
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians $40,350 11%

All data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020). Projected job growth is for 2018 – 2028.

Additionally, PayScale—where individuals, rather than businesses, report salaries—shows clinical informatics managers averaged $94,206 per year as of May 2020.

How Do I Become a Health Informatics Manager?

Anyone with an aptitude for data and technology and an interest in healthcare may be able to work as a health informatics manager—if they complete the appropriate education.

Do I Need Medical Training to be a Health Informatics Manager?

While you don’t need medical training to be a health informatics manager, many find it helpful. For instance, Dr. Danny Sands of the Society for Participatory Medicine stated that he trained in health informatics while working as a medical doctor because he had seen firsthand how these technologies could empower medical professionals and patients. If you’re currently a medical professional, you’ll be in good company if you choose to transition. If you’re not, you can still succeed in this field with health informatics training.

Associate Degrees in Health Informatics

Associate degrees in health informatics are often Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degrees in health information management. Earning an A.A.S. allows you to work in entry-level careers as a medical records specialist or a health information technician. A.A.S. programs take an average of two years and may include courses like:

  • Health record content and structure
  • Law and ethics in healthcare
  • Medical billing and coding

Bachelor’s Degrees in Health Informatics

To work in higher-level health informatics, you need a bachelor’s degree. Some pursue a bachelor’s in nursing with a focus on informatics. Others earn bachelor’s degrees in fields like computer technology or public health. However, many schools offer degrees specifically in health informatics, typically Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in health information management or healthcare administration with a focus on informatics or information. Those with bachelor’s degrees can earn higher-level positions than those with associate degrees, though many in managerial positions have master’s degrees.

Bachelor’s programs take about four years of full-time work to complete, and many in this field are available online. You may take courses like:

  • Data management
  • Healthcare ethics and law
  • Information technology
  • Medical terminology
  • Software in healthcare

Master’s Degrees in Health Informatics

Master’s degrees in health informatics include Master of Health Informatics (MHI), Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI), Master of Science (M.S.) in Applied Health Sciences Informatics, M.S. in Biomedical and Health Informatics, and Master of Business Administration (MBA), among others. Master’s degrees allow you to more easily earn management positions. These programs can often be completed entirely online and take around two years of full-time study. Coursework may include advanced versions of the bachelor’s classes, plus:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Communications systems management
  • Computer programming
  • Healthcare IT administration
  • Leadership

You will likely complete a capstone project rather than a thesis. A capstone will usually be a portfolio showing you can effectively create and manage health informatics systems.

Graduate Certificates in Health Informatics

Usually offered online, graduate certificates are for those who may or may not have master’s degrees in informatics but want to specialize in the field. Some programs allow you to take coursework concurrently with a master’s, some after a master’s, and others require a completed master’s and a minimum amount of work experience. You may also be able to earn a certificate if you’re a nurse or doctor. These certificate programs typically take one year and include classes like:

  • Data management
  • Introduction to health informatics
  • Medical records and terminology
  • Project management
  • Research methodologies

Doctorates in Health Informatics

In most cases, you don’t need a doctorate to work in health informatics management. However, if you hope to work in academia, research, or policy, you may want to take this step. These programs include Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in areas like healthcare information systems or information technology management, Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in healthcare management, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in informatics, and Doctor of Computer Science.

Completion time varies based on the type of program and institution. Some, like the DNP in Informatics Leadership at American Sentinel University, can take as little as 28 months. However, the average Ph.D. takes four to six years, including time spent on a dissertation.

Since there are so many types of doctorates, the only standard courses you can expect are advanced information technology and informatics, research methods, and communication.

Health Informatics Management Certification

Licensure and certification requirements will vary based on your position and location. A few common types are:

American Board of Preventative Medicine Clinical Informatics Certification
To earn this certification, you must have a medical license, medical degree, and an ABMS member board certification.

AMIA Health Informatics Certification (AHIC)
The American Medical Informatics Association will be rolling out its certification in 2020. This is for those who don’t qualify for the American Board of Preventative Medicine certification above.

Informatics Nursing Certification (RN-BC)
Registered nurses can earn this certification to work in nursing informatics.

Health Informatics Resources

  • American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA): This organization consists of nearly 6,000 members, all of whom are involved in health informatics from the student to policy levels. AMIA focuses on collaboration and career growth. It also hosts annual conferences, provides continuing education, and offers a career center.
  • Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII): With an emphasis on collaboration, PHII analyzes health informatics processes, offers technical assistance, and delivers training courses through the Informatics Academy.
  • HealthITAnalytics: This website helps informatics and other health data professionals to remain up to date on trends and research. Additionally, it hosts at least one summit per year.
  • HIT Consultant: This company provides news and editorials about emerging trends, best practices, and types of technology used in health informatics.
Top Health Administration Schools
Additional Health Administration Schools
Alabama
Alabama State University(Montgomery, AL)
  • BS - Health Information Management
Alaska
  • Associates of Applied Science in Health Information Management
Arizona
  • M.S. in Health Care Informatics
    (online)
Phoenix College(Phoenix, AZ)
  • Associates in Applied Science in Health Information Technology
  • Associates in Applied Science in Health Information Technology
  • Certificate in Health Information Technology
Arkansas
Arkansas Tech University(Russellville, AR)
  • BA - Health Information Management
California
Cypress College(Cypress, CA)
  • AS - Health Information Technology
  • Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Information Systems
Laurus College(Atascadero, CA / Oxnard, CA / San Luis Obispo, CA / Santa Maria, CA)
  • Associate in Information Technologies & Network Systems
Loma Linda University(Loma Linda, CA)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration
    (online)
  • Certificate in Health Information Administration
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Health - Concentrations in Epidemiology / Health Behavior / Global Health
  • Master of Public Health - Concentrations: Biometry / Environmental Health / Epidemiolog / Global Emergency Preparedness and Respons / Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences / Health Management and Policy
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.d) in Biostatistics
  • Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.) in Biostatistics
  • Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) in Biostatistics
  • Master of Science in Biostatistics
  • Master of Health Administration: Health Information Systems Concentration
Colorado
National American University(Colorado Springs, CO / Denver, CO)
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
    (online)
Florida
ASA College(Hialeah, FL / Maimi, FL)
  • Health Information Technology- Associate of Applied Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
  • AS - Health Information Technology
Keiser University(Fort Lauderdale, FL)
  • Associate of Science in Health Information Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
  • Health Science, DHSc
  • Associates in Applied Science in Health Information Management
Rasmussen College(Tampa/Brandon, FL)
  • Health Information Management Bachelors Degree
  • Associates in Science in Health Information Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
  • Master of Science in Health Management and Informatics
  • Certificate in Medical Informatics (Undergraduate or Graduate)
    (online)
Georgia
Augusta University(Augusta, GA)
  • Masters of Public Health in Health Informatics
  • Bachelors of Science in Health Information Management
University of Phoenix(Dunwoody, GA)
  • Master of Health Administration/Informatics
    (online)
Illinois
College of DuPage(Glen Ellyn, IL)
  • AAS - Health Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
Midstate College(Peoria, IL)
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
Rasmussen College(Aurora, IL / Romeoville/Joliet, IL)
  • Health Information Management Bachelor Degree
  • Health Information Management Bachelors Degree
  • Health Sciences Associates Degree
  • Health and Wellness Bachelors Degree-Completion Program
  • Healthcare Associates Degree
Indiana
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration
Kaplan University(Learning Center - Indianapolis, IN)
  • BS in Health Information Management
  • Health Information Management
Vincennes University(Vincennes, IN)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
    (online)
Iowa
Kaplan University(Cedar Falls, IA / Cedar Rapids, IA / Davenport, IA / Des Moines, IA / Mason City, IA)
  • BS in Health Information Management
  • BS in Health and Wellness
  • Health Information Management
  • MSN - Nurse Informatics
Vatterott College(Des Moines, IA)
  • Medical Billing and Coding - Des Moines, IA
Kansas
  • AA - Health Information Management
  • AS - Health Information Management
  • B.S. in Healthcare Admin: Health Info Mgmt
    (online)
National American University(Overland Park, KS / Wichita, KS)
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
    (online)
  • A.A.S. Health Information Technology
    (online)
  • B.S. Health Information Management
    (online)
Rasmussen College(Overland Park, KS / Topeka, KS)
  • Health Information Management Bachelors Degree
  • Health Sciences Associates
University of Kansas(Lawrence, KS)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
Kentucky
Beckfield College(Florence, KY)
  • Health Information Technology - Associate
Louisiana
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Health Informatics and Information Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
Maine
Kaplan University(Augusta, ME / Lewiston, ME)
  • BS in Health Information Management
  • Health Information Management
  • MSN - Nurse Informatics
Maryland
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - Biostatistics
  • Master of Health Science (MHS) - Biostatistics
  • Master of Public Health (MPH) - Epidemiological & Biostatistics Methods for Public Health and Clinical Research.
  • Master of Science (ScM) - Biostatistics
Kaplan University(Hagerstown, MD / Learning Center - Rockville, MD)
  • BS in Health Information Management
  • Health Information Management
  • MSN - Nurse Informatics
University of Maryland(Baltimore, MD)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH) - Biostatistics
  • Master of Science in Health Administration Informatics
    (online)
Massachusetts
  • AAS - Healthcare Information
Salter College(Chicopee, MA)
  • Certificate in Multi-Skill Health Technician - Chicopee, MA
Salter School(Tewksbury, MA)
  • Certificate in Health Claims Specialist - Tewksbury, MA
Michigan
Ferris State University(Big Rapids, MI)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
Minnesota
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
  • Master in Health Information Management
    (online)
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
    (online)
  • Health Information Management Bachelors Degree
    (online)
  • Health Information Technician Associates Degree
    (online)
  • Healthcare Associates Degree
    (online)
St. Catherine University(Saint Paul, MN)
  • AAS - Health Information Specialist
  • Certificate - Health Information Specialist
Mississippi
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management
Missouri
Kaplan University(Learning Center - St. Louis, MO)
  • BS in Health Information Management
  • Health Information Management
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
    (online)
Saint Louis University(Saint Louis, MO)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
Stephens College(Columbia, MO)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
    (online)
  • Masters in Management of Health Information
Vatterott College(Berkeley, MO / Joplin, MO / Saint Joseph, MO)
  • Medical Billing and Coding - Berkeley, MO
  • Medical Billing and Coding - Joplin, MO
  • Medical Billing and Coding - St. Joseph, MO
Montana
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
Nebraska
Clarkson College(Omaha, NE)
  • AS - Health Information Management
  • BS - Health Care Business: Healthcare Information Management
  • BS - Health Care Business: Informatics
  • Certificate - Health Information Management
  • Master of Healthcare Administration - Health Information Technology
    (online)
Kaplan University(Lincoln, NE / Omaha, NE)
  • BS in Health Information Management
  • Health Information Management
  • MSN - Nurse Informatics
  • Associates of Applied Science in Health Information Systems
Salter School of Nursing(Manchester, NH)
  • Patient Care Technician
New Jersey
Eastwick College(Nutley, NJ)
  • AAS in Health Science - Health Information Technology Concentration
Kean University(Union, NJ)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
New Mexico
  • AAS - Health Information Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
    (online)
New York
Adelphi University(Garden City, NY)
  • Bachelor of Business Administration - Management Information Systems
ASA College(Brooklyn, NY)
  • AAS - Health Information Technology
Columbia University(New York, NY)
  • Accelerated Master of Public Health (MPH) - Biostatistics
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - Biostatistics
  • Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) - Biostatistics
  • Master of Science (MS) - Biostatistics
LIU Post(Brookville, NY)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
  • Certificate in Health Information Management
  • Bachelors of Professional Studies in Health Information Management
  • Bachelors of Science in Health Information Management
  • Bachelors of Science in Health Information Management
    (online)
North Carolina
  • AAS - Health Information Technology
  • Certificate - Health Information Technology
  • Diploma - Health Information Technology
East Carolina University(Greenville, NC)
  • BS - Health Information Management
  • Master of Healthcare Administration/Master of Science in Information Science
  • Master of Science in Public Health/Master of Science in Information Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration
Ohio
Beckfield College(Tri-County Cincinnati, OH)
  • Health Information Technology
  • AAS - Health Information Management
  • AAS - Health Information Technology
Franklin University(Columbus, OH)
  • Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Information Systems Management
    (online)
  • Program in Health Information Management Technology
Miami Jacobs Career College(Columbus, OH / Independence, OH)
  • AAS in Electronic Health Records - Columbus, OH
  • AAS in Electronic Health Records - Independence, OH
Owens Community College(Perrysburg, OH)
  • Associate in Health Information Technology
The University of Toledo(Ground, OH / Online, OH)
  • Bachelor Degree - Health Information Administration
  • Bachelor Degree - Health Information Administration
    (online)
University of Cincinnati(Cincinnati, OH)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management Administration
Oklahoma
  • BS - Health Information Management
Vatterott College(Oklahoma City, OK / Tulsa, OK)
  • Medical Billing & Coding Technology - OKC
  • Medical Billing and Coding - Tulsa, OK
Pennsylvania
  • AS - Health Information Technology
Gwynedd-Mercy College(Gwynedd Valley, PA)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
  • Bachelors of Science in Health Information Management
  • Bachelors of Science in Health Information Management
    (online)
Temple University(Philadelphia, PA)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
  • Master of Health Administration - Health Informatics
    (online)
  • Online MS in Health Informatics
    (online)
University of Pittsburgh(Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
Rhode Island
  • BS - Health Care Management
  • BS - Health and Wellness
South Dakota
  • AS - Health Information Technology
  • BS - Health Information Administration
  • MS - Health Informatics
National American University(Rapid City, SD / Sioux Falls, SD)
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
    (online)
Tennessee
  • Master of Science in Professional Science - Health Care Informatics
  • AAS in Electronic Medical Records - Chattanooga, TN
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
Vatterott College(Appling Farms, TN / Memphis, TN)
  • Medical Billing and Coding - Appling Farms, TN
  • Medical Billing and Coding - Memphis, TN
Texas
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
    (online)
Tarrant County College(Fort Worth, TX)
  • Associates of Applied Science in Health Information Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
Virginia
  • Master of Science in Management of Health Informatics and Analytics
    (online)
  • Bachelor of Science in Informatics - Healthcare Informatics
    (online)
Marymount University(Arlington, VA)
  • Masters of Science in Health Care Management/Masters of Information Technology
Medical Careers Institute(Newport News, VA / Richmond (South Side), VA / Richmond (West End), VA)
  • Associates in Health Information Management - Newport News, VA
  • Associates in Health Information Management - Richmond (West End), VA
  • Associates in Health Information Technology - Richmond (South Side), VA
  • Certificate in Health Information Management
Washington
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics and Health Information Management
Wisconsin
Herzing University(Madison, WI)
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
Kaplan University(Learning Center - Milwaukee, WI)
  • BS in Health Information Management
  • Health Information Management
  • Advanced Technical Diploma - Healthcare Informatics
  • Technical Diploma in Health Information Technology
    (online)
Pennsylvania
  • Electronic Health Records - Associate in Specialized Business - Allentown, PA