Which Career in Health Informatics is Right for You?

March 19, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

The U.S. government has mandated the implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHR) by October 2015. With that requirement has come an increased demand for health informatics jobs. However, like most other fields, “health informatics” is not a one-size-fits-all term. There are many varieties of health informatics jobs, each offering different duties and requiring a diverse range of experience.

A career in health informatics encompasses a variety of titles ranging from management, auditors, documentation specialists, and compliance analysts. Here is a look at a few of the highly demanded roles you can play with a degree in health informatics, each of which requires varying levels of education and experience.

Entry-Level Positions

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The electronic medical record keeper, an entry-level position, is a valuable addition to a medical staff, as this person is responsible for collecting, inputting, and dispersing medical records. Medical record keepers or coders must have completed industry certification exams, such as the Certified Coding Specialist or Registered Health Information Technician exams.

Positions Requiring Bachelor’s Degrees

Along with technology experience, health informatics directors must also possess interpersonal skills. These individuals discuss technological advances with employees, physicians, and pharmacists. Coupling nursing experience with technology experience, nursing informatics specialists serve as liaisons to other nurses about technology issues. Experience, along with a bachelor’s degree, could fetch a health informatics director up to $100,000 per year.

The type of work you can do as an informatics director may depend on previous experience. For example, an individual with previous medical experience may focus more on research and the end use of technology. Conversely, an individual with more information technology experience may focus more on connecting systems to the people who use them. Other opportunities include determining the most secure and efficient means of making data available to physicians, such as radiological images and pathology results.

Positions Requiring Master’s Degrees

Health informatics consultants help make sure technology systems and networks operate in top condition. Training people to use the systems rounds out the health informatics consultant’s job duties. This position directly responds to the federal medical records rules. You’ll find the most success if you hold a master’s degree, such as the one offered by Adelphi University, and you can expect to earn upwards of $80,000 per year.

At a higher level, chief medical information officers analyze IT systems and design new applications to improve the process. To obtain this $100,000 to $200,000 position, you should possess a master’s degree or a Ph.D.

To reach the highest level of health informatics jobs, you should have substantial expertise in either the medical or IT field. For entry and mid-level positions, some facilities will train IT specialists to better understand the medical field and medical specialists to better understand IT. If you have experience in both fields, you may have an automatic advantage.

The Bottom Line

Health informatics encompasses a variety of positions requiring an array of education and experience. Whether you are new to IT or medicine or have several years’ experience, there are many opportunities to enter the exciting world of health informatics and advance as your career progresses. Earning a health informatics degree may provide the boost you need to enter this rapidly growing field.