Individuals considering a career in this field may want to earn an advanced degree such as a Master of Advanced Study in health informatics. While not all positions require a master’s degree, it often may provide candidates with a competitive edge, especially when applying for management-level opportunities.
For working professionals in particular, an online Master of Advanced Study in health informatics can offer students flexibility as they learn more about the effective use of information technology, data science and knowledge representation to impact health care. The curriculum for such a degree may combine information on clinical informatics with clinical workflow and modern health technology in conjunction with data informatics. An MAS in health informatics degree will focus on enhancing graduates’ skills, preparing them for careers in a wide range of health care settings.
“People come into our program with very different perspectives and goals,” says Dr. Adela Grando, Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Informatics at Arizona State University. “For instance, we have nurses and technicians who want this knowledge because they want to take a leadership position. I also have students who know nothing about this industry but they want to transition. They come with a background in banking, data management or marketing and are taking this master’s as a way to apply what they already know to health care.”
Some of the potential career outcomes available to those with the right combination of education and experience in health informatics include population health analyst, health care IT project manager, clinical informatics manager, clinical informatics analyst and health care analytics manager. Each of these careers offers possibilities for individuals to positively impact future experiences for both medical personnel and patients.
Population health analyst
Population health analysts are responsible for providing systems-related advice and consultation by mining and analyzing public health and population data, among other duties. The BLS categorizes this role into related careers such as computer and information research scientists. It projects this occupation to grow 19 percent between 2016 and 2026.
Demand in this field is quickly increasing due to the struggle companies are experiencing in finding candidates with the right skill set for the job. Hiring organizations often prefer candidates to have advanced degrees coupled with previous work experience. Furthermore, the number of available positions is outpacing the supply of workers.
Population health analysts are responsible for mining complex data for health care organizations to provide systems-related advice to innovate and improve efficiency. They should have advanced knowledge of different data mining technologies, exceptional written and oral communication abilities and highly developed analytical skills. A typical day for these analysts include activities such as designing and building data set processes, interpreting data or developing predictive models.
The BLS reports that computer and information research scientists earn about $111,840 per year.
Health care IT project manager
Demand for this career is growing due to the increasing desire of health care organizations to expand into electronic health records and other digital platforms. Between 2016 and 2026, this profession is projected to rise by 12 percent, according to the BLS. Many organizations require a graduate degree and five or more years of work experience in related IT jobs.
Health care IT project managers plan, initiate and manage IT projects, such as an organization’s conversion from paper records to EHRs. They work with their own team while also serving as a liaison between the business side and technical aspects of a project. They help determine an organization’s health IT goals before working to implement computer systems to help reach these goals. To be successful in this role, health care IT project managers must spend ample time assessing the business implications of their work and monitoring the progress of projects.
The median pay for this position is close to $136,000, according to the BLS, with previous work experience a key determinant in eligibility for open opportunities.