Clinical informatics analysts operate within the health care industry to regulate and improve clinical practices and standards. These analysts not only help to optimize workflow and clinical information systems, but also expand and modify systems to serve new business purposes and improve existing processes.
Working closely with colleagues to compile and understand relevant data prior to analysis, clinical informatics analysts strive to coordinate and improve clinical practices and standards. Complying with a strict set of guidelines stemming from federal, state and local laws, they work to create more efficient and productive workflows while staying within regulations.
Succeeding in a position like this often requires a solid background in both technology and health care programs, which the right degree can help provide. Combining clinical informatics and data analysis with modern health technology and clinical workflow, an online Master of Advanced Study in health informatics may be beneficial to professionals who are pursuing career advancement. Such a degree can enhance students’ skills and prepare them for opportunities in a wide range of health care settings.
A typical day in the life of a clinical informatics analyst
Data is abundant in the health care industry, from overhead costs to patient outcomes to drug safety and more. As a result, clinical informatics analysts serve an important role in analyzing and documenting data, consulting across departments regarding data needs and ensuring data storage and acquisition is legally compliant.
Analyzing science, engineering, business and any other data processing problems within health care to implement and improve computer systems requires clinical informatics analysts to review an array of operational areas. For example, they may look at specifics in a given computer system such as user requirements, procedures and automation to suggest improvements in capabilities, workflows and general operations. The daily tasks associated with this integral part of a clinical informatics analyst’s role may include:
- Testing, maintaining and monitoring computer programs and systems.
- Troubleshooting system malfunctions.
- Interpreting data to find solutions to organizational issues.
- Expanding and modifying systems to improve workflow.
- Creating and running data reports.
- Developing programs and databases that accurately capture data.
In addition to the technical components of an analyst’s day, the job includes tasks focused on communication. Clinical informatics analysts may serve as the liaison between medical personnel and other departments within their organizations. They may also be responsible for training staff to use their organization’s systems and programs as well as troubleshooting any issues that could interfere with systems functioning normally.
Furthermore, clinical informatics analysts work closely with management to not only recommend solutions to business problems but also to aid in the decision-making process when it comes to new system implementations. The cost-benefit and return-on-investment analyses they perform may help to select new software and/or equipment for a health care organization looking to meet compliance standards or innovate.
A closer look at the professional landscape of the clinical informatics analyst position
Continued education can be a big focus for clinical informatics analysts. While a bachelor’s degree is typically required to enter into this career, hiring managers may prefer candidates to have a master’s degree, especially if the position is considered more technically complex. Clinical informatics analysts often continue to pursue learning opportunities throughout their careers to ensure their technical knowledge stays relevant.
The median salary for clinical informatics analysts is around $67,000, according to Payscale. Growth in this field directly correlates with the increasing trend to use cloud computing in businesses across most industries. The health care sector, in particular, is seeing a boost in opportunities due to higher usage of IT services.
Growth opportunities in this career track can potentially lead clinical informatics analysts into managerial roles, going from being on a team to leading it. Further movement to IT directors or chief technology officers may be possible with the right experience and education.
Becoming a clinical informatics analyst
Becoming a clinical informatics analyst requires both knowledge and skill. Not only do you need to be well-versed in technology, but you also may need a strong understanding of health care practices for certain opportunities. For example, a hospital may be looking for a clinical informatics analyst who is educated in specific health plans like Medicare and Medicaid. Hiring managers may also be looking for candidates whose basic computer software experience includes programs typically used in health care portals and systems.
While technical acumen is very important, you may also benefit from qualities like:
- Organizational skills: Managing the multitude of tasks associated with each project requires clinical informatics analysts to have strong organizational skills. This helps ensure nothing falls through the cracks and all objectives within each project are properly addressed.
- Analytical skills: Projects most often move forward smoothly due to proper data analysis. It may be up to a clinical informatics analyst to interpret complex information to move projects in the right direction and accurately assess how any process changes may impact progress.
- Creativity: While this might not be a skill you’d often think about when it comes to a clinical informatics analyst role, it’s important for individuals in this career to “think outside the box” to make innovative suggestions when solving an organization’s computer problems.
Learn more about your potential career as a clinical informatics analyst
Deciding to pursue a career as a clinical informatics analyst can require a solid background in technology as well as industry-specific systems and programs in addition to highly developed professional skills. A graduate degree can be a proficient way to round out your expertise and become a competitive candidate in the job market. The online Master of Advanced Study in health informatics offered by Arizona State University takes an innovative approach to build students’ knowledge in information technology, computer science and the efficient handling of information and resources to impact health care. This online Health Informatics program is ideal for professionals currently working in health care as well as those with IT experience in non-health fields. Regardless of your professional background, this advanced degree program can help graduates transition to a variety of careers, including that of a clinical informatics analyst.
Sources:Master of Advanced Study in health informatics online
Summary report for computer systems analysts
Payscale's clinical analyst salary
Occupational outlook for computer systems analysts