Healthcare informatics is the field devoted to capturing, organizing and storing patient medical records and statistics in an electronic format. Healthcare informatics professionals are the individuals who specialize in this growing field.
Healthcare informatics professionals input data, double-check its accuracy, develop reports, troubleshoot technical problems and track statistics about the prevalence of certain diseases. Healthcare informatics professionals typically work in hospitals, but may also find employment in large physicians’ practices, outpatient care clinics and long-term care facilities.
Because knowledge of medical terminology and computer science are necessary for work in the field, healthcare informatics professionals must have some type of post-secondary education. The most common educational programs for professionals in the field is a two-year associate degree, though shorter certificate and four-year bachelor’s degree programs are offered at some schools.
Healthcare informatics professionals may seek voluntary certification from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). The association has a number of certification levels, all of which require professionals to take a written examination.
As of May 2008, healthcare informatics professionals averaged annual salaries of $32,960, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for healthcare informatics professionals will increase by 20 percent from 2008 through 2018, resulting in the creation of 35,100 new jobs in the field.