For those interested in a career in the health care industry, there are few fields more exciting at the moment than health informatics. The rapid expansion of computer and online technologies over the last couple of decades has led to advances in every industry, including health care. And some truly remarkable technological solutions have emerged that help health care practitioners provide better, faster, and more comprehensive care. Patients also benefit from having increased access to their own medical records, as well as tools that allow them to take a greater measure of control when it comes to managing their health. As a professional in this field, you’ll enjoy a challenging and rewarding career for the foreseeable future but there are a few things you should know about the informatics industry before you get started.
- Informatics is a growing field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2010 and 2020 jobs in the field of health informatics are estimated to grow at a rate as high as 21%, which is 7% higher than the average rate of job growth. This will provide for approximately 50,000 new jobs just in the next few years alone. And it’s not just the number of jobs that is growing, but also the diversity of the positions and specialties available.
- The industry is multi-faceted. There are three main disciplines involved in health informatics: health care, technology, and business. So a background in any or all of these areas can lead to jobs in this field. But a number of sub-disciplines are also represented, albeit in a format that is potentially more niche. If you’re interested in nursing, health care administration, biology, chemistry, mobile app development, or a number of other related fields, health informatics could be a viable career option that allows you to explore your interests.
- Education is required. It’s not enough to be a whiz with computers – if you want a job in health informatics, you’re going to need licensing, certification, or even a college degree. You might also need some related experience, as well, before you can move into health informatics as it is largely considered a field without entry-level positions, perhaps because of the complexity and liability involved in creating technology that supports the medical industry.
- Informatics is a career, not a job. Because of the requirements for getting a job in health informatics, including education, training, and experience, you will have to make a commitment to the process. It’s nothing like getting a job selling Slurpees at the 7-11 or working a retail position. By entering the field of informatics, you are committing to spend years of your life preparing for the demands of a particular type of job and the expertise you gain is best suited to a lifelong career rather than a disposable job.
- You’ll get to work with computer technology. If you’re interested in the many practical applications provided by computer hardware and software, along with online options, the field of health informatics is a viable career option. Informatics relies on computer technology to provide solutions for storing, sharing, processing, and analyzing health-related information.
- Earning potential is high. According to a survey conducted by HIMSS (Health Care Information and Management Systems Society), the average salary for a nursing informatics position in 2014 is just over $100,000 per year. And it is estimated that jobs in nursing informatics could range from about $66,000 for a Nurse Informatics Specialist to an estimated $140,000 a year for a Director of Nurse Informatics, and those are just the jobs that revolve around nursing. With a wide variety of informatics degrees to choose from, students can pursue their passion for health care, technology, and/or business and find an exciting and profitable career as a result.