Do I Need IT Experience to Get a Health Informatics Degree?

Do you need IT experience to get a health informatics degree? With so many stories in the news about the increasing demand for health information management professionals, many people are wondering if they have what it takes to break into this hot field. While it may be helpful, you do not need prior information technology experience in order to gain admission to a health informatics degree program. A quality program will provide you with all the knowledge and technical training you need to have a successful career in health informatics.

What is Health Informatics?

According to the American Health Information Management Association, health informatics is the science of how health data is stored, transmitted and used. Health information management professionals focus on applying health informatics procedures and techniques effectively so that health information is securely and accurately managed using information management technology. This ensures that confidential medical records and patient data is available to the doctors and health care professionals who need to see it and protected from those who might misuse or steal it. They are employed by virtually all kinds of health care settings, insurance companies, public health departments, and even the technology companies that provide technical products to the health care industry.

What Qualities Should Someone in the Health Informatics Field Have?

With the explosive growth in the health informatics field, there is an extensive variety of jobs available, which means people entering the field can choose between positions that are more people-oriented and jobs that require a more technological focus, explains U.S. News and World Report. Generally speaking, health information management professionals should be interested in health care, management, computers, science, and law. Attention to detail and a willingness to work with other health care professionals are also important. Individuals entering health informatics must also be prepared to commit to life-long learning, so that they can stay current in this continually evolving field.

What Topics Does a Health Informatics Degree Program Cover?

In order to meet the demand for trained professionals, colleges and universities across the country have put together a multitude of health informatics degree programs. Students can choose a two-year associates degree program or a four-year bachelor’s degree program. Master’s degree programs are available as well; most will accept students with a bachelor’s degree in other subjects. Program titles include, but are not limited to, health informatics, health information, health information management, or health information technology. A good quality program will include coursework in information technology, medicine, information management, finance, management, ethics, law and leadership. Students should expect to spend time in the computer lab learning to use both medical and general office software. Shorter programs will provide students with the working knowledge necessary for entry-level positions in health informatics; advanced degree programs will delve more deeply into the relevant topics and technologies. Interested students should look for programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

With the increasing dependence of health care providers, insurance companies, and health departments on electronic medical records, there are abundant opportunities for skilled professionals trained in health informatics. Health information management is predicted to be one of the nation’s fastest growing professions. People looking to enter this booming field do not need prior medical or IT experience to earn a health informatics degree because the programs provide the knowledge and training necessary for professional success.

For more information on earning your degree in Health Informatics degree, please see 20 Most Affordable Master’s in Health Informatics Degree Programs.