Like other health information professionals such as knowledge managers, information managers, and information analysts, health informatics is concerned with health knowledge, information, and data.
The Health Informatician differs from other health information professionals in focus on the use of communication and information technologies to improve and support health care. HIs deal with both the knowledge base of patient and health information. The intersection between Health Science Librarianship and Health Informatics needs to be explained.
Health Science Librarianship/Health Informatics
In the U.S., health science librarians signaled the relevance of the Health Informatics to their profession with the creation of a Medical Library Association. Health Informaticists, like librarians, are health data and decision-making tools managers who serve a role in supporting health care that is evidence-based. Health informaticists are intense in areas such as decision system design, patient and health databases, and database design, whereas librarians excel in human interaction, education, and training. Health librarians work across specialties that reflect their human contact and reference role, while informationists narrowly focus on specific topics that reflect their technology orientation.
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What Is this Program Area?
Health science librarians made a significant contribution to Health Informatics curriculum development and teaching. The first was the growth of resources for digital information that spurred librarians to initiate information retrieval, systematic reviews, and critical appraisal courses.
Changes in clinical education, such as evidence-based practice, self-directed learning, and problem-based learning, provided the rationale for the extension of librarians' educational remittance. As elements of HI were introduced into curricula, health science librarians were sought to assist with curriculum design and teaching.
What Can You Do With a Degree?
When specialist postgraduates programs in Health Informatics developed, health science librarians seized the opportunity to become involved. Although the health informatics field encompasses subject areas and disciplines that are long-standing and familiar, the field is in a formative state that permits librarians to make contributions to the field through curriculum development and teaching that are impossible in more established educational areas.
Health science librarians may discover opportunities to be part of an emerging new field by teaching the first generation of researchers and practitioners of the future. Health Science Librarianship entrants come from health information management, software engineering, computer science, and clinical backgrounds.
Are There Online Programs?
Due to Federal mandates concerning EHRs, the need for trained experts in health-related data management is growing. Healthcare IT-based developments in planning, organization, and distribution have more importance than ever. Healthcare informatics specialists help patients, protect and utilize medical data effectively, and improve the delivery of healthcare and patient satisfaction. Online learning shed the stigma of lesser quality.
The flexibility and convenience make it a desirable option for entering the exciting field. An online Master’s in Healthcare is an opportunity for students who hope to enter the field. Health Informatics is a discipline that offers new frontiers in need of innovative leadership. Emerging technology and understanding how health information can improve the quality of healthcare services, increase access and patient safety, and reduce healthcare costs.
Sample Universities with this Online Program
University of San Diego – The Health Care Informatics programs is designed to create leaders in the industry. The University of San Diego is a Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Approved Education Partner. It provides all the programmatic and technical skills needed to succeed, along with management skills to cement a role as a Health Care Informatics field trailblazer. The flexible, unique program is tailored to fit students’ personal goals, so they start making an impact immediately after graduation. It is designed for working professionals. They can take evening classes on campus or enroll in the 100 percent online program. Both formats provide experienced cross-disciplinary faculty and the opportunity to customize the experience by choice of three learning tracks.
George Washington University – The Master of Science in Management of Health Informatics and Analytics program is offered by the Milkin Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. Students use IT tools and data to improve the delivery of quality health care and patient outcomes. They
- Attend weekly face-to-face classes vial web camera
- Learn from globally connected experts on the GW faculty
- Access coursework with a convenient mobile app 24/7
- Connect with worldwide accomplished health care leaders
- Visit the GW campus in D.C. for hands-on learning experiences
- Join an elite GW alumni network
- Earn the degree in as little as 24 months
- Gain the skills needed for the PMP certification exam
The program is meant for professionals who have a minimum of three years of health care experience or experience in the data analytics of IT field. No GMAT or GRE is required for admission.
Typical Courses for this Degree
Introduction to Public Health and Biomedical Informatics – Introduces students to the principles of informatics applied to the range of healthcare that includes prevention, illness, population, and public health. It focuses on frameworks that explain and describe health information systems. The course provides non-clinicians with basic exposure to the concepts and terminology of public health and clinical care. It provides technical novices with exposure to IT terminology. All students are provided entry-level skills and concepts for future informatics sequence courses.
Applied Clinical Informatics – The course introduces the Applied Clinical informatics field to students. Students are exposed to a broad spectrum of clinical workflows and how the technology and systems of health information support them. Topics in the course include:
- Master Patient Index
- Health Information Exchange
- Electronic Prescribing
- Electronic Health Records
- Computerized Provider Order Entry
- Clinical Discussion Support
- Bar Coding
Secondary Uses of Electronic Health Record Data – The issues, methods, and concepts related to applying analytics to Electronic Health Record data are introduced to students. It covers the use of EHR data to identify and define patient populations and sub-populations, evaluate standard healthcare metrics, and improve patient care and safety qualities. The course emphasizes using EHR data in hospital settings.
Informatics and the Clinical Research Lifecycle: Tools, Techniques, and Processes – Research information involves supporting research and how support changes research. It addresses the life-cycle of clinical-research programs that include generating ideas, building teams, developing a protocol, obtaining funds, addressing ethical concerns, getting permission, participant recruiting, providing the associated care and intervention, collecting data, analyzing data, archiving data , and disseminating results. The course addresses translational informatics related topics by incorporating bioinformatics and clinical research results into health practice. The course highlights novel principles involved, implications for the future, evidence for their success, and tools available.
Leading Change Through Health – The course prepares students to lead organizations that implement new IT systems. It covers the skill and knowledge that enables public and clinical health informaticians to manage and lead changes associated with implementing, adopting, and evaluating effective use of health information systems. Topics covered include:
- Change Management
- Strategic Planning for Health Information Systems
- Project Management
- Effective Teams in Health IT
- Leadership & Governance in Health IT
Each year, the Alaska Health Information Management Association awards a $1000 Alecia Graham Memorial Scholarship to a health informatics student who wishes to receive the Registered Health Information Technician or Registered Health Information Administrator credentials in health information technology or administration. Eligible candidates must reside in Alaska for a minimum of one year and complete at least 12 credits in a Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education-accredited program and maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. With the application, students must submit two letters of professional reference, an official transcript, and a 500-word essay that addresses why the candidate wishes to pursue a health informatics professional career.
ANIA Informatics Scholarship Program – The Informatics Scholarship Program is hosted each year by the American Nursing Informatics Association. Three $3000 scholarships are awarded to grad students enrolled in an accredited Doctoral or Master’s program with a healthcare or nursing informatics focus. The awards are granted to registered nurses who are U.S. citizens, attend an approved American university and have been members of ANIA for a minimum of two years. The application package must have official college transcripts, two letters of professional recommendation, a current resume or vitae, and a personal 300-word statement that explains the candidate’s potential for informatics contribution.
Top Organizations to Know
American Health Information Management Association is a premier health informatics organization that offers information about training and certification. It provides access to leading-edge topics and a career center.
American Medical Informatics Association provides professional credentials and program accreditation. Members have access to a mentorship program, an online community, peer-reviewed journals, and continuing education. The organization hosts several events and conferences.
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society boasts 70,000 members. Several membership levels are offered. Benefits include discounted conference tickets, online resources, and participation in a local chapter or special groups
International Medical Associationis an international ‘association of associations’ organization that is comprised of health informatics societies that are located over the world. IMIA has academic, national, and regional members. The regions include the Middle East, North America, European Federation, and Asia Pacific regions. The organization publishes guidelines and documents for ethical practices. It maintains special interest groups that include a group that specializes in nursing informatics. The organization produces a large MedInfo conference.
Career Options with this Degree
As technology demand and advances for service increases, Health Informatics technology specialists remain in high demand. Database and information management and systems, administration, and consulting offer excellent job prospects. Common occupation for health information graduates include:
- Computer Network Architects
- Healthcare Database Administrators
- Information Security Analysts
- Information Systems Managers
- Network and Computer Systems Administrators
Graduates may work in network design, systems administration, or information security. Professionals typically work full-time, non-traditional schedules. They may be on call for troubleshooting. Professionals frequently work long hours in front of a computer. Managers may interact with staff and meet with departments. Individuals who can communicate complex information and possess advanced technical and analytical skills. may implement advancements in the field by pursuing consulting opportunities.