Ahead of the Curve: Health Informatics Specialist

Health informatics is an umbrella term for a range of careers.

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Health Informatics Specialist/Manager. "The job market for health informatics people is absolutely out of sight," exclaims Merida Johns, founding director of the graduate program in health informatics at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. And it's no surprise: Hospitals, insurers, and regional collaboratives are switching to electronic medical records. Nurses and doctors, urged to do more evidence-based medicine, are using computerized expert systems to guide their diagnoses and treatment recommendations. Healthcare providers also are collecting more data to evaluate quality of care.

Health informatics is an umbrella term for a range of careers. Not surprisingly, there are many opportunities for techies, but ample options exist for people persons. For example, as a health information systems analyst, you speak with physicians, nurses, and others to identify their needs and develop a blueprint to hand to the programmers for implementation. If you get a bachelor's in health information management or a bachelor's in anything plus a master's in health information management, you're likely to have a good, secure job waiting that will play a crucial role in improving the quality of American healthcare.

Learn more:

  • American Health Information Management Association. It lists all 200 accredited training programs. Merida Johns recommends Ohio State University, Temple University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Utah, the University of Missouri-Columbia, the University of Alabama-Birmingham, the University of Illinois-Chicago, Stanford University, the University of Oregon Medical Center, and the University of Washington.
  • Health Information Management Technology: An Applied Approach, 2nd Edition, edited by Merida Johns