Health informatics lies at the center of a powerful transformation in the health care industry. Its unique convergence of communications, information technology and health care facilitates better coordination and overall care. Since the emergence of health informatics, doctors have improved outcomes, providers have saved money, and patient participation has increased. In addition, to encourage the collection and use of data in health care, as well as to improve accessibility, government programs offer financial incentives to organizations that install electronic health record (EHR) systems. The data collected needs professionals who can translate it into actionable strategies to improve health care. Therefore, the widespread adoption of health informatics and the resulting demand for professionals trained in health informatics analysis should come as no surprise.
The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) provides a comprehensive curriculum that can help professionals develop the skills that any health information systems analyst job description might call for.
What Is a Master of Science in Health Informatics?
The Master of Science in Health Informatics focuses on the collection of EHRs and how IT systems store and circulate them across organizations. The program teaches systems integration using a real-world approach. Professors design courses to cultivate technical knowledge and build fluency in government regulations, clinical trends and best practices in health care management. Students gain an understanding of the practices and tools that best leverage IT in clinical care, public health and medical research, among other realms.
The curriculum begins with core courses that build a foundation in health informatics and then continues with elective courses ranging in topics from artificial intelligence to patient safety in health informatics. Students can also choose to use elective courses to specialize in health data science. Equipped with an MSHI and the competencies the degree affords, graduates can pursue a career as a system analyst.
Breakdown of the Systems Analyst Job Description
Clinical informatics systems analysts manage the acquisition of external data—data culled from sources outside of an organization—and verify that such acquisitions adhere to certain policies and procedures. These systems analysts interact with other units in their organizations to define data needs and record data in repositories. They also identify and document requirements to perform ad hoc analyses.
Systems analysts complete many tasks to fulfill their responsibilities. They test quality assurance functions of data integration processes to ensure they comply with specified functional requirements. And they authorize the processes of copying or loading data sets from a source folder to clinical data repositories to ensure the integrity of the data. Health data is beholden to many HIPAA compliance issues. Systems analysts must maintain and analyze health data, such as medical or lab information, in compliance with HIPAA privacy policies and procedures. They are also responsible for managing local area networks and IT security teams in the use of proper protocols and encryption software when transferring medical claim files in compliance with HIPAA. To map data for medical claims, integration requires knowledge of specific software, including SAS and Access, as well as competency using BusinessObjects and SQL.
The Skills Needed, Salaries and Projected Growth
Success as a systems analyst necessitates soft skills and technical skills. Performing the tasks outlined above requires computer proficiency and the ability to solve problems. In addition, the coordination between different organizational units demands interpersonal skills as well as excellent written and verbal communication.
In addition to the rapidly increasing utilization of EHRs, a growing number of health providers view informatics as critical to their industry. In turn, there is a strong demand for health informatics systems analysts. Because the number of professionals trained in medical and information technology does meet the current market demand, individuals with this unique skill combination can expect better pay. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 13% increase in employment in the health information field between 2016 and 2026. Yearly median yearly salaries can reach $88,740, with top earners making $142,220 annually.
Find Out More
Before big data began to revolutionize industries, organizations focused on internal data. Today, health care and other industries realize much greater potential through external data acquisitions integrated with internal data. The acquisition process, however, requires the expertise of skilled systems analysts. Explore the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Master of Science in Health Informatics and learn what it takes to competitively fulfill the requirements found in any systems analyst job description.