Is Health Informatics Right for You? Positions, Salaries & Career Outlook

6 minute read

It seems that no matter the state of the economy, there’s always a need for qualified healthcare professionals in a range of positions — whether it’s as a nurse in a big bustling hospital, an administrator at a small local clinic or as a researcher for a university. And with the adoption of big data and digital-based operations increasing the demand for professionals with both health and technology experience, there’s never been a better time to pursue a Master’s degree in Health Informatics.

Since the field is fairly new, there’s a lot to be learned about the job responsibilities, salary ranges and career opportunities that are available to those with the necessary education. Read on to learn more about the field and find out if health informatics is the right path for you.

What is Health Informatics?

Healthcare facilities collect and manage an exorbitant amount of data — patient health histories, financial records and inventory counts being just a few of the different types.

Health informatics combines health information and technology expertise to efficiently and proactively collect, manage and analyze this data with the goal of improving practices and establishing patient-focused processes.

The History of Health Informatics

In 2015, the U.S. government set a deadline that required all healthcare facilities to transition from paper medical records to digital ones. If you’ve ever seen the endless rows of file cabinets that line the walls of your doctor’s office, you can understand what a big transition this was for the majority of facilities.

With this switch came a dire need for health informatics professionals who could implement, manage and continually improve electronic medical record systems, with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes and processes.

Today, health informatics professionals are primarily responsible for:

  • Improving the quality of patient care
  • Securing patient records and all health information
  • Managing budgets
  • Advancing health opportunities

Who Should Enter the Field of Health Informatics?

If you’re looking for a role where you can help patients without having to provide direct care, then health informatics could be the perfect industry for you.

Health informatics is a great career path for healthcare professionals who are interested in a role that also incorporates data and IT. If you have experience in any of the following areas, you can benefit from pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in health informatics:

  • Clinical health
  • Dentistry
  • Medical research
  • Nursing
  • Occupational therapy
  • Medical lab services

But health informatics isn’t just for people who are already in the healthcare industry. If you’re an IT or business professional with experience in any of the positions below, you can also transition into an informatics role:

  • Systems analysts
  • Data quality managers
  • Project managers
  • IT coordinators
  • Database managers/administrators
  • Application specialists

Health Informatics Positions

Since there are a range of positions in the health informatics field, requirements and salaries will vary. To give you a general idea of role requirements, salary ranges and main responsibilities, below is a look at five of the most in-demand positions:

Health Informatics Nurse

As a health informatics nurse, you’d work as a liaison between the clinical side of a practice and the IT side.

Job responsibilities include:

  • Evaluating healthcare facility operations
  • Overseeing data integration
  • Identifying clinical applications that can help increase efficiency
  • Training staff on new technology systems

This role requires at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing, but many roles will require a master’s degree.

Average Annual Salary Range: $58,049 – $98,831

Health Informatics Specialist

This position is similar to that of a health informatics nurse, but focuses more on the actual implementation of technology in a healthcare setting.

Primary job responsibilities include:

  • Training staff on all systems and procedures
  • Troubleshooting and assisting staff
  • Staying up to date on compliance and regulatory standards

Requirements for this role are broad; you’ll need at least a high school diploma and technology experience, but a master’s degree in health informatics will open up more opportunities for you.

Average Annual Salary Range: $40,760 – $91,021

Clinical Informatics Specialist

These specialists create processes in electronic systems in order to digitize medical records.

Responsibilities include:

  • Overseeing the transition of paper medical records to digital
  • Creating processes for seamless transitioning
  • Continuously improving procedures while keeping detailed documentation for the staff

For this position, you’ll need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing, licensure as a registered nurse and experience in a clinical setting.

Average Annual Salary Range: $49,888 – $103,820

Clinical Analyst

Analysts evaluate data generated from digitized medical records with the goal of improving a facility’s information systems.

This position is primarily responsible for:

  • Creating healthcare database systems
  • Evaluating data to enhance workflows
  • Balancing efficiency with regulatory standards

A bachelor’s degree in life science, social science or a related focus is required. For higher-level positions, you’ll need a master’s degree.

Average Annual Salary Range: $47,207 – $91,961

Clinical Informatics Manager

Managers oversee the daily operations of clinical information.

  • Train and manage staff members
  • Manage and monitor budgets
  • Ensure systems are compliant with all state, federal and professional regulations

You’ll need a bachelor’s or master’s degree and experience in health informatics or nurse informatics.

Average Annual Salary Range: $61,742 – $125,830

Is Health Informatics a Good Career Choice?

Bottom line: Yes! There’s a bright outlook for careers in health informatics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an aging population that requires more medical care combined with the widespread adoption of electronic health records puts the job outlook for health informatics higher than the average for all occupations.

Over the next few years, it’s projected that the demand for various job roles in this field will grow by 13%. Health informatics professionals are particularly in high demand in industries like:

  • Healthcare facilities and hospitals
  • Government agencies
  • Computer sciences
  • Data analytics
  • Software development
  • Organizational leadership

How to Get a Job in Health Informatics

Most careers in the health informatics field require postsecondary education. You’ll have more career opportunities and receive a higher salary with a Master’s degree in Health Informatics.

Wondering if a master’s in health informatics is worth it? A study from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) found that professionals with a master’s degree in health informatics make an average of 30% more per year.

University of Cincinnati Online offers a Master of Science in Health Informatics that combines healthcare and IT training to prepare you for this fast-growing field. You can learn more about the program and request more information from an enrollment advisor here.

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