A medical informatics degree can lead to a career which is central to the changes in the health care industry. An individual who is interested in the fields of technology and medicine will find that a degree in medical informatics provides opportunities to play a vital role in the function and operation of health care and human services organizations. This field is relatively young, but the need for people who have this degree is growing rapidly as technology is incorporated into every area of medicine.
This page gives more information about these programs and lists schools where you can take them by online and distance learning. If you are interested in informatics in the health and medical field, you might also like to read the pages for associated areas such as Bioinformatics and Nursing Informatics.
What do medical informatics degree programs cover?
In order to participate in a degree in medical informatics program at the masters or PhD level, an individual must have completed a bachelors program that meets the core requirements for entry. Depending on the area you want to specialize in, coursework for this degree will include an introduction into the professional, organizational and access and retrieval of information as it relates to computer system design and operation.
Students in a masters in medical informatics may also be required to take health sciences information management courses that will provide instruction in the characteristics of health information services, organization and management of data collection, facilities, users and user services, and other professional activities of the health information specialist. Coursework may include biomedical communication, disaster management, community based health information, and medical digital imaging (DICOM and HL7).
Most colleges offering this program also require an internship in a facility that provides the hands-on training required to gain knowledge of the complexity of developing, implementing and maintaining cross communication systems.
This is a field that requires continual education and the ability to adapt to the evolving technological advances of both computer science and the health care industry.
What are the career prospects?
This field is growing due to the transition to electronic records by health care organizations and facilities. It is imperative that systems be in place which can be used by healthcare workers who must have access to patient records, demographics, and health sciences libraries.
Upon completion of a masters medical informatics program, an individual will have the ability to work in hospitals, medical research laboratories, health insurance companies, internet companies, and other health related areas. Specialties in the field include biomedical informatics, public health, organizational, social and clinical informatics. Any area where there is a need for an individual to develop systems that store, retrieve, share and use information that is critical to solving problems, making decisions and providing immediate information regarding patients provides opportunities for a person with this degree.
Most people who complete the program are provided with great opportunities due to the rapidly growing need of health and human services organizations. A medical informatics salary varies from $55,000 to over $100,000 annually depending on experience and the specialty that is focused on. An individual who has a broader knowledge of the needs of users in their specialty area will be able to command a greater salary than a person entering the field without a medical or health services background.
Many people who with a medical informatics qualification choose to provide consultation services to organizations and facilities who are setting up or improving their systems. This provides the opportunity for an individual to make more money than a person who is on salary with a single group.
List of schools and programs