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What Is Healthcare Informatics?

Healthcare informatics techniques use information technology to organize and analyze health records in ways that lead to improved healthcare outcomes. Healthcare informatics is used by nurses, doctors, administrators and researchers in the healthcare industry, and training is available through associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs, as well as certificate programs. Continue reading for details about various healthcare informatics systems and training programs.

The Role of Healthcare Informatics

Healthcare informatics provides efficient electronic access to medical records for patients, doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, insurance companies and heath information technicians. It is a growing field, and you can find many certificate and degree programs in health informatics and health information management at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. According to the professional journal Healthcare Informatics, professionals in this field are currently focused on creating electronic medical records, computerized practitioner order entry systems and clinical decision support systems.

Important Facts About Healthcare Informatics

Common Courses Medical terminology, healthcare data, medical information technology, pharmacology
Programs Both fellowship and internship programs are available
Online Availability Programs are available
Professional Certification The Certified Associate in Healthcare Information and Management Systems and Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems certifications are both available
Median Salary (2018) $40,350 (for all medical records and health information technicians)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 13% (for all medical records and health information technicians)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Electronic Medical Records (EMR)

Healthcare informatics techniques are being used to computerize patients' medical records. Electronic medical records ease the transfer of records between physicians' offices and hospitals, and they also facilitate public health research. EMRs are also being used to create electronic:

  • Patient check-in systems
  • Billing systems
  • Appointment reminders

Computerized Practitioner Order Entry (CPOE)

Healthcare informatics professionals are also working to create computerized practitioner order entry (CPOE) systems that will allow doctors to electronically order treatments for patients. CPOE systems use healthcare informatics knowledge to:

  • Minimize mistakes
  • Decrease delays in treatment
  • Simplify inventory tracking

Clinical Decision Support Systems (CDSS)

Healthcare informatics professionals are also creating clinical decision support systems (CDSS). These systems are designed to bring the most up-to-date, evidence-based information to help health professionals make the best-quality diagnosis and treatment decisions possible. The basic components of a CDSS include:

  • Medical knowledge base
  • Evidence-based inference program
  • Information refinement tools

Education Programs

Healthcare informatics programs are found at the certificate, associate's degree, bachelor's degree and master's degree levels, although undergraduate programs are more common. With a certificate or an associate's degree, you could become a healthcare data technician or a healthcare software support technician. With a bachelor's or master's degree, you may obtain more of a leadership role: your responsibilities may involve designing, implementing and managing healthcare informatics systems. Degree programs may be designed for individuals who are already working in the healthcare field and want to make a career change into this field of healthcare.