Health care informatics and information systems use computers, specialized software and communication tools to collect, analyze, and transmit medical information. It is typically used to create efficiency in the clinical, administrative and financial areas of health care, including nursing, pharmacy, clinical care, research, dentistry, and public health.
The most common example of health care informatics in action is the emergence of the Electronic Health Record (EHR). Regardless of the setting–whether a physician office, hospital or nursing home–health care informatics and information systems professionals perform the vital role of organizing and managing health information to ensure quality, patient safety, and security.
A Career in Health Care Informatics and Information Systems
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that job opportunities for health informatics and information systems professionals will grow much faster than the average for all occupations by 2018. Many individuals enter the field as health information technicians with an associate’s degree and registered health information technician (RHIT) certification from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Career advancement to become a health information manager, director or vice president is usually dependent upon experience or by obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree in health informatics, information technology, or a related field.
A Brief History of Health Care Informatics and Information Systems
Health care informatics and information systems emerged in the United States in the 1950’s with the introduction of computers. As technology advanced through the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, so did the use and development of computer systems to manage clinical data. In 2004, the United States Department of Health and Human Services formed the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology which was charged with the mission to facilitate widespread adoption of EHRs in the U.S. within 10 years.