Top Applied Health Science Careers: Duties and Benefits

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Two Technicians Working In LaboratoryApplied health science careers are those related to using applied science in the delivery of health care. One of the many career choices in this expanding field is informatics. Health informatics uses data to improve health care services across health care organizations.

Graduates with degrees in this specialized area can leverage their experience and skills to gain employment in several critical areas. An online Master of Science in Health Informatics program can help students develop advanced skills to pursue careers in applied health science using advanced information technology, data collection, and analytics.

Career Opportunities in Health Informatics

Applied health science careers within the medical field are numerous. Due to rapidly evolving medical technologies and systems, the demand for professionals with an informatics background is growing. Among those available are:

Data Analyst

Health data analysts apply their specialized knowledge of data acquisition, management, analysis and interpretation directly to health care data. Among their responsibilities are collecting and entering patient data, performing data analysis and preparing visual data representations. According to PayScale, the median salary of health data analysts is $61,387, as of August 2019, with the upper 10% of earners making $79,000 per year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts an excellent growth rate of 26% for this role over the period 2018 to 2028.

 Skills Required: A data analyst should know data mining and analysis, strategic planning and comprehensive reporting to be successful. Data mining and analysis are important for collecting and cataloging data into a readable format for other members of the organization. Comprehensive reporting goes hand in hand, since the data analyst may need to prepare reports for different departments based on important insights they may have found. Strategic planning ensures that the company’s goals for patient care remain the focus of the data analysis and the insights generated.

Pathology Informatician

Pathology informaticians focus on compiling, reporting, examining, storing and analyzing complex data sets generated from clinical laboratories. They derive clinical insights from existing data by the application of algorithmic methodologies. PayScale reports that the median salary for clinical informatics specialists is $76,935, as of September 2019, with the top 10% of earners making $107,000. The BLS projects the health information technician field will grow 11% over the period 2018 to 2028.

Skills Required: For the job of a pathology informatician, a candidate must know basic programming, database design, and data mining and analysis. Programming and database design are necessary to ensure that records are kept up to date and that those records are available to researchers and clinicians. Data mining and analysis help draw conclusions from the collected pool of data that can better inform the organization.

Research Informatician

Research informaticians design and implement IT systems for organizing client records. Their primary aim is to ensure that all records are accessible to members of the staff and to design systems to improve patient care in an organization. PayScale reports that the median salary of research informaticians is $63,229, with the top 10% of earners making $96,000 per year. According to the BLS, this profession, grouped with health information technicians, is projected to grow 11% from 2018 to 2028.

Skills Required: A research informatician needs strategic planning, organizational change leadership, and comprehensive reporting skills. Strategic planning helps the informatician align the company’s long-term IT plan with its expected delivery of services. Organizational change leadership helps research informaticians prepare the organization to accept the rollout of new systems. Comprehensive reporting allows the informatician to develop explanatory training manuals to help users ease into a new system in an organization.

Radiology Applications Specialist

Radiology applications specialists market medical and radiological equipment or work in a health facility operating that equipment. They are usually well trained in the field of technical analysis and have experience operating a radiology machine. Most states require a radiology technician to be certified and registered. PayScale reports that clinical applications specialists such as radiology applications specialists earn a median salary of $71,981, as of September 2019, with the highest earners in the profession getting up to $97,000. The BLS states that the projected growth for the field of radiologic technicians over the period 2018 to 2028 is 9%, slightly faster than average.

Skills Required: A radiology application specialist needs to understand project management, strategic planning, and comprehensive reporting. Project management is a necessity for ensuring that a patient who has to go through a series of tests has them arranged over time competently. Strategic planning competency allows the radiologist to anticipate the need for his or her services, while comprehensive reporting is necessary to be able to deliver a final document to both the attending physician and the client.

Respiratory Therapist Informatician

Respiratory therapist informaticians are responsible for collecting medical information about clients in respiratory distress and helping doctors understand the diagnosis. They are usually responsible for creating and managing patient records and developing methods of treatment. The BLS reports that respiratory therapists earn a median salary of $60,280 per year, with the top 10% of earners making $83,520 annually. The job outlook for the field for the period 2018 to 2028 is outstanding, with the BLS projecting a rate of growth of 21% through the period.

Skills Required: Respiratory therapist informaticians understand data mining and analysis, project management and strategic planning. Data mining and analysis are required to assist medical teams in the treatment of patients. Project management and strategic planning are essential for managing the compilation of reports on critical respiratory conditions. Respiratory therapist informaticians assist medical teams in creating long-term treatment plans for chronically ill respiratory patients.

Getting a Health Science Degree 

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) online Master of Science in Health Informatics degree is a major step in gaining a role in one of these applied health science careers. UIC delivers state-of-the-art health information management programs with access to a 100% online suite of health care IT degrees designed to combine academic theory with real-world applications. This range of degrees can equip all medical professionals who want to advance their careers with the technical knowledge and professional acumen necessary to succeed in an increasingly complex electronic health environment. Apply today to start discovering how applied health science can make a difference!

Sources:

Houston Chronicle, “Careers for Applied Science Degrees”
PayScale, Average Clinical Applications Specialist Salary
PayScale, Average Clinical Informatics Specialist Salary
PayScale, Average Health Data Analyst Salary
PayScale, Average Health Informatics Specialist Salary
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Operations Research Analysts
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Radiologic and MRI Technologists
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Respiratory Therapists

Recommended Reading:

Health Informatics Careers for Graduates with an MSHI
Is a Career as a Director of Health Information Management Right for Me?
Pursuing an Informatics in Health Care Career: The MSHI Curriculum at a Glance