Health informatics features the storage, acquisition, and collection of healthcare data. This field of study is multidisciplinary and includes courses in health care, information science, and computer science, among others.
Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Health Informatics
The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics has outlined guidelines that require health informatics degrees to be available at the master’s degree level; however, baccalaureate level programs are available to interested students, who can seek admittance to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Health Information Administration (HIA).
Students take about four years to complete these programs that augment core HIA courses with general education classes. Schools offer programs in both online and on-campus formats devised to train students for the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam administered by the American Healthcare Information Management Association (AHIMA).
Colleges that offer a baccalaureate in HIA may have varying requirements for admission with recommended skills, including the ability to manage others along with knowledge of computer science. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma, in addition to recording high scores on admissions tests.
Health information administration coursework incorporates information on technology’s impact on healthcare administration, in addition to its uses and applications. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as the following areas of study:
•Systems and database design
•Quality assurance and management
•Legal and ethical issues
Graduates of the bachelor’s degree program can seek career roles such as:
•Data quality manager
•Clinical data analyst
•Healthcare consumer advocate
•Health information resource manager
Job and Wage Outlook
A faster-than-average job growth rate of 22% has been predicted for health information management professionals over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The expected increase in the need for healthcare services by an aging population drives this growth. In May 2012, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $34,160 (BLS).
Continuing Education Information
These professionals can enhance their employment opportunities by obtaining certification through AHIMA; accordingly, the RHIA credential is popularly sought. They can also choose from other credential choices, such as certification as a health data analyst or certification in healthcare privacy. Both certifications require a combination of work and educational experience.
Professionals seeking continuing education can look into schools that offer master’s and doctoral degree programs in medical information management and medical informatics.