August 23, 2021

What is Health Informatics & Why is it Important?

By B&SC Blog Team

What is Health Informatics & Why is it Important?

Chances are good that if you’re exploring solid options to embark on a first or second career, health informatics is a term you’ve seen on many lists of up-and-coming employment sectors. Health informatics workers are in very important in today’s healthcare industry and demand for them is high – and continues to rise. So what is health informatics and why is it important?

What is Health Informatics?

Health informatics is a specialized field within the healthcare industry that combines communications, information and healthcare with the goal of improving patient care. It involves using resources such as health information systems in collecting, storing, retrieving, analyzing and utilizing healthcare information for a variety of purposes. Among the most common purposes served by health informatics are enabling better collaboration and coordination among healthcare providers, streamlining medical quality assurance processes, improving cost-efficiency in healthcare delivery and increasing accuracy and efficiency in facility/practice management. According to the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), health informatics applies principles of computer and information sciences to the advancement of not only patient care, but life sciences research, health professions education, and public health.

About Health Information Systems

Clearly, health information system management is a fundamental function of health informatics professionals. For those just beginning to look into the field, here is a simple health information systems definition; Health information systems is a term used to describe any system that uses computer hardware and software to capture, store, manage and/or transmit information related to the health of individuals or to the functions of health-related organizations. Basic types of health information systems include:

  • Transaction processing systems – These types of health information systems process information to complete transactions. Examples of these systems include patient billing systems and hospital admit, discharge and transfer systems.
  • Management information systems – These software systems provide management tools for organizing and evaluating departments and/or staff. Examples of information management systems of this type include emergency department and laboratory information systems.
  • Decision support systems – These computer systems gather data and uses analytical models and visual tools to improve the outcome of decision-making tasks. The most common examples of this type of system are clinical decision support systems.

Why Is Health Informatics Important?

This role is vital to the healthcare field. While it is a behind-the-scenes position, these healthcare professionals improve patient experience by organizing, storing, and managing health data through the use of electronic health records (EHR). In today’s world of big data, healthcare systems and those who work with them have become even more important. By using these systems, healthcare providers have easier access to patient information which can help doctors and nurses come to quicker solutions and outcomes. These health professionals also communicate with policymakers and those in information technology, acting as a bridge between the two fields. Overall, their knowledge of patients, medicine, and health information technology make them a strong asset in healthcare facilities.

Health informatics careers

If a career in health informatics appeals to you, here is what you need to know about gathering the right knowledge base and qualifications. This career path will require technical knowledge of various types of health information systems, administrative skills and healthcare knowledge. Basically, becoming a health informatics professional means cross-training between information technology specialties and health care, since this field requires skillsets from both disciplines.

Earning a Health Services Administration degree can get you off to a good start, providing a good mix of the knowledge and skills you need from each discipline in order to launch your health informatics career. Completing a Health Services Administration course will offer you a comprehensive foundation of health-related knowledge, including the financial and legal aspects of healthcare, a good working knowledge of health information systems, as well as necessary skills for various management/administration roles within the healthcare industry. Once your foot is in the door, you can earn specialized certifications in health information management to advance your career, distinguishing yourself as an expert in health informatics.

For more information on the Health Services Administration degree or other degrees related to Health Informatics, contact the Admissions office at 1.888.273.2758.

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