What is the Career Outlook for Health Informatics?

what-is-the-career-outlook-for-health-informaticsIf you are interested in combining your interests in technology and health care, you might want to check the career outlook for health informatics. Doctors, nurses, and technicians of all sorts are important in the world of health care, but in this age of growing reliance on technological ways to track and use data, health informatics professionals are also becoming important in health care delivery. Although this is a relatively new field, it is definitely growing, so you can find a variety of programs to help you prepare to enter the profession.

What Health Informatics Technicians Do

Because the profession is still so young, you may not be fully aware of what health informatics employees do. Informatics technicians can work in a variety of health care settings to use information technology to track, manage, analyze and use health related information to help serve patient populations better. Health informaticists need to be skilled at using computers but also well versed in medical terminology and health care delivery systems. The general term “health informatics” is a kind of catchall phrase that covers people who work more specifically in special fields such as nursing, pharmacy, pathology, public health or consumer health. The kinds of information that these professionals track enables them to help clinicians design and implement improvements in services to communities and individuals in need of medical care. Such information can help hospitals, health networks and insurance companies work more efficiently.

Career Outlook for Health Informatics

A career in health informatics can be a good way to combine varied interests in medicine, technology and research. Medical record keeping has become a very important part of health care delivery in the U.S., which is one reason the field, though young, is strong and growing. The American Medical Informatics Association says there are now over 70 degree programs in health informatics.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks the job outlook for medical records and health information technicians, predicts a 22% growth rate for this field between 2012-2022. In that ten year period, over 41,000 jobs will likely be added to the profession. They call this a “much higher than average” rate of job growth. The current median salary is about $34,000 per year or a little over $16 per hour. While this is not necessarily a high salary for an IT field, the field is still growing and at least there is fair assurance of continued high demand for workers.

There are various reasons why the field seems to be growing so rapidly. Some of it is related to the record keeping changes that have come about with the Affordable Health Care Act and the need to expand health care coverage to more citizens. The aging population means that health care services, in general, seem to be on the rise. Given what an important place technology has in American culture, recently implemented changes in how data is kept and analyzed are likely here to stay and will be further developed as the profession develops. Given the positive career outlook for health informatics, this could be a good time to look into work in this field.

See also: 20 Most Affordable Master’s in Health Informatics Degree Programs