[ Tuesday, August 21, 2012 ]


Guest Post: As you may know, I occasionally allow guest bloggers to post articles here that have some passing relevance to HIPAA and health information technology. This is one such article:

Health Informatics Creating New Professional Career Opportunities

Health informatics is a discipline that is advancing technologically and is in high demand in many hospitals across the world. As a combination of the computer and information sciences and the health care field, health informatics is based on the use of computers and information systems to input, manage and interpret medical records.

Although health informatics is not a new discipline, it has yet to reach its pinnacle, in terms of widespread use. Slowly but surely, hospitals across the United States are beginning to implement a health informatics system into their operation, and with this new way of managing patient data comes the need to train and hire health care professionals with a background in health informatics.

In a recent article published online at BostonHerald.com and titled Medical Moneyball: Informatics takes pulse of medicine, Dr. Jonathan Bickel, Boston Children’s Hospital’s director of clinical research informatics points out the need for professionals who are well-versed in both sides of the subject.

In the article, Dr. Bickel is quoted as saying that, “To be good at informatics, you have to be good in two realms – the world of health care and the world of information technology.”

Universities and colleges all across the country are answering this call for better educated professionals by creating programs on both the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. However, most are designed at the master’s level for experienced health professionals such as doctors, nurses and pharmacists. For added convenience, many schools offer an online course option.

For those health professionals interested in a career in health informatics, it is best to first discuss this interest with your employer, because they may already know of opportunities within your organization or offer tuition reimbursement for training.

According to the same BostonHerald.com article, job demand for health information managers and technicians is at a healthy and promising level.

The article quotes Northeastern University’s Master of Science in Health Informatics director, Daniel Feinberg, as saying that, “anybody who is getting a degree from this (Northeastern’s) or other local master’s programs is getting a job.”

As for the legality and ethics of using patient records for research purposes, policy compliance and government reporting regulations play a major role in health informatics education. The issue of patient privacy is one that does not go unnoticed, but it looks as though the benefits of informatics and electronic medical records are winning the battle. Health informatics is here to stay and grow and will continue to offer a new career opportunity for many health care professionals with an interest in computer science, research and statistics.

Lauren Bailey is a freelance blogger who often contributes her knowledge of online education to www.BestCollegesOnline.com. In addition to topics related to education, Lauren also loves to cover issues related to new technology, lifestyle and health. She welcomes your questions and comments at blauren99@gmail.com.

Jeff [4:33 PM]

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