The 21st Century introduced so many new technologies – it’s challenging to track them all.
Social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have enabled us to connect to and talk with friends, family, and even strangers – from anywhere in the world. Tesla’s autopilot feature pushed the car industry one step closer to producing completely autonomous vehicles. Devices like Meta Quest or HTC Vive have opened our minds to endless possibilities in creativity and connection in the virtual world.
While the newest social media app or video game console advancement tend to grab the public’s interest – quieter, less noted advances are having just as big, if not bigger, impact on our lives. One such example is the digitization of medical records, which over the last 20 years has played a critical role in helping streamline patient care across the healthcare system.
Advancements in collecting and analyzing patient records have created better communication across healthcare clinics, increased understanding of patient conditions among specialists, and advanced care integration between acute and long-term care facilities.
At the center of all these records and data is the interdisciplinary field of health informatics – which focuses on improving patient and healthcare outcomes through health records. But there’s more to it than that – a lot more. But don’t worry; we’re here to help you understand it better.
What is health informatics?
Simply put, health informatics uses various aspects of information technology to organize and analyze health records to improve healthcare outcomes. Since Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are so common, the need for informaticists to manage and analyze the data has only increased – with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a total of 416,200 jobs in 2020 with a growth rate of 9% over the next 10 years – adding just shy of 40,000 jobs through 2030.
Who benefits from the work health informaticists do?
The answer is everyone. Health informaticists don’t just organize and analyze data but also assist in providing electronic access to patient medical records and health data across various entities within the healthcare industry. Countless healthcare professionals benefit from the work Health informaticists do.
- Nurses will access patients’ medical records or procedure charts to understand past care better and make informed decisions about future care during their visit.
- Administrators use data collected from patients to make informed improvements to a hospital system and structure, along with helping to improve individual patient care.
- Councilors use health records to understand medical histories, learn about patient diagnoses and monitor patient medications to target their clinical approach better.
- Even Pharmacy Technicians use health data when interacting with patients by seeing past prescriptions and ensuring the correct dosage is administered.
How can I become a health informaticist?
Taking the first step to becoming a health informaticist is not only easy but doesn’t require an advanced degree. While jobs in the field range from an entry-level specialist to the Chief of Medical Information – a great place to start is with a Health Informatics Certificate from the University of Providence. Our 100% online program provides the groundwork for preparing students to serve as liaisons for clinicians, administrations, and other healthcare professionals.
Whether you’re already in the healthcare field, have a career somewhere else, or are just out of high school looking to get your foot in the door – a career in health informatics will prepare you to embark on new careers as developers or managers of healthcare systems.
Here are some skills you’ll learn through our program.
- Improve patient/consumer and caregivers’ use of existing and emerging technologies, including the electronic health record, for wellness and health care.
- Accelerate the adoption of health information, communication tools, and technologies to rapidly realize the benefits for patients and caregivers.
- Be an organizational resource for applying informatics concepts by demonstrating continuous learning and inquiry about the field.
- Advocate for health information systems that reflect consumers’ needs, values, and preferences and empower them to participate in care decisions.
- Promoting health information and communication technologies is foundational for a learning health system that includes the active engagement of health care consumers.