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What a career as a clinical informatics manager may look like
Data can do much more than solve business issues: It can help transform an industry. Information collected through health care informatics may help prevent and treat diseases as well as lead to more efficient and safer patient care. Clinical informatics managers develop the information technology, computer science and information management methods that drive innovation in these areas.
Frequently employed by hospitals and clinics, clinical informatics managers plan and manage an organization’s clinical informatics program, transforming relevant data into actionable results and information that all health care professionals in their organizations can access. One of their primary focuses is using the data to improve efficiency.
“Data determines the ways in which an organization plans, the ways in which it distributes its resources,” Dr. Adela Grando, Assistant Professor of Department of Biomedical Informatics at Arizona State University, begins. “A person in data analytics can discover that a hospital is not performing well in regards to the emergency room, and then the hospital can decide to devote more resources to it.” Dr. Grando goes on to say, “How many lives can a data analytics professional impact? With technology, you can impact the lives of hundreds or thousands of people.”
Clinical informatics managers need knowledge in both health care and database management to help them succeed. This may mean hiring managers are looking for candidates with a combination of qualifications including a certain amount of professional experience and an appropriate level of education.
A Master of Advance Study in Health Informatics may present courses that cover both the technical side of clinical informatics as well as areas within clinical workflow and modern health technology that intersect with data analysis. An online MAS in Health Informatics degree can be designed to take an innovative approach to information technology, computer science and the efficient handling of information and resources to improve health care, providing students with the opportunity to enhance their skills and prepare for a variety of careers
A typical day in the life of a clinical informatics manager
Throughout a typical day, clinical informatics managers’ activities will most likely fall into three categories: development, management and evaluation, depending upon the stage of the project.
The development aspect focuses on creating project-specific data management plans that can address things like coding, reporting or data transfer. Tasks in this area can include:
- Designing and validating clinical databases
- Generating data queries, such as drug safety, patient readmissions, overhead costs and more
- Creating procedures to handle data management, data entry and processing, including electronic health record transfers and maintenance
A large part of the management portion of this position is to ensure services and applications within the organization comply with professional standards as well as state and federal regulations. Clinical informatics managers are responsible for systems reaching optimal performance and meeting security and accuracy standards. Other tasks include:
- EHR compliance and conversions
- Monitoring work productivity
- Reviewing budgets and ensuring projects stay on track
- Overseeing day-to-day information system activities
- Supervising staff selection, training and development
- Providing technical direction
Preparing the collected data from a certain project for analysis and then interpreting it to achieve project goals encompasses a large part of clinical informatics managers’ evaluation activities. They may also be called upon to perform these tasks:
- Processing clinical data
- Evaluating data quality
- Recommending changes to improve systems
Each piece of this role requires you to apply your knowledge of health care and database management to effectively work with clinical data. The end result is to report on trends and suggest next steps. In practice, this may consist of finalizing EHR standardization, training employees on data compliance, evaluating data queries for accuracy and quality or consulting on the impact of a health care policy or procedure using data as support.
A closer look at the professional landscape of a clinical informatics manager
The clinical informatics manager role falls into a larger job category defined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as medical and health services managers. This group is projected to grow by 20 percent between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations. This growth is potentially caused by the baby boomer generation aging and needing expansive health care services.
BLS data shows that medical and health services managers earn roughly $96,540. Two to five years of experience may be required for candidates to enter this role. Furthermore, clinical informatics managers commonly hold advanced degrees, so ensuring you have the right education prior to applying for positions in this field may help you stand out as a candidate.
Becoming a clinical informatics manager
A combination of technical and professional skills can be the keys to success as a clinical informatics manager. Staying up-to-date with the latest health care technology and data analytics can not only ensure you have the technical knowledge to perform everyday tasks, but can also help you to lead innovation.
It’s important for clinical informatics managers operating at the managerial level to possess strong leadership skills, which can include:
- Actively listening to colleagues and team members
- Communicating effectively to ensure policies and procedures are followed
- Hiring, training and motivating staff
- Expert information technology and computer science knowledge
- Diverse health care compliance knowledge
Additionally, it’s important that you’re able to understand and follow regulations that may affect your workflows. Using analytical skills and critical thinking may help you to adapt your efforts to comply with new laws.
Learn more about your potential career as a clinical informatics manager
Influencing how an organization uses certain systems can be a big responsibility. It’s up to clinical informatics managers to ensure data is properly collected and effectively analyzed. The right combination of technical know-how, work experience and education can be imperative to achieve success in this role. The online Master of Advanced Study in Health Informatics, offered by Arizona State University, can provide students a deeper understanding of the effective use of information technology, data science and the handling of information to impact health care regardless of whether they have experience working in the health field or are new to it.