Health informatics or medical informatics undertake a wide range of tasks in healthcare facilities, which may have some similarities with the responsibilities of network security experts and database administrators. Thus, this job is suitable to individuals who have an interest and expertise in operating database software used in the medical setting. It is also ideal if these professionals possess a degree in information technology.
Health Informatics Salary in the US
The national median salary for health informatics in the United States in $43,600 per year. However, those who belong to the upper ten percent may receive over $106,000 annually. As with any career, the salary of medical informatics depend on numerous factors including location, credentials, work experience, and type of setting where they are employed. Moreover, those who hold an associate’s degree earn much less than professionals who have a bachelor’s or a master’s degree relevant to this profession.
Pay Scale in Different Parts of the United States
As of March 2014, the average pay for health informatics specialists in the United States ranges from $35,410 to $95,052. The median salary, however, was $62,116 annually. The salary varies depending on the number of hours that these professionals work per day. Most health informatics take full-time work schedules, particularly those who are employed in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. They may even work on weekends and assigned on overnight shifts.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics have noted these top five high-paying states for health informatics specialists in the country:
- New Jersey – $55,130
- District of Columbia – $45,500
- Hawaii – $42,500
- California – $42,270
- Colorado – $42,110
As expected, those who are more experienced and have a higher education degree can earn more each year. They may also qualify for a promotion to a job position that is more financially rewarding.
Job Description of Health Informatics Specialists
Health informatics are in charge of gathering and managing data of medical information data of patients. They are expected to keep these records as accurate, up-to-date, and secure as possible whether in the database or in paper. With that in mind, they must be well-versed in using various classification systems that enable them to code and organize significant patient information.
These data are required for registries and databases, and most importantly for insurance reimbursement. Keeping these pieces of information organized also monitor treatment and medical histories of all patients for quick reference of the attending physician.
Generally, health informatics specialists should be trained in documenting key health information of all patients such as their test results, medical background, symptoms, treatments, and any other details that doctors provide to their patients. Since these professionals may work in different industries with varying size and population, the scope of their tasks also varies.
These specialists must possess excellent interpersonal skills as they deal and work closely with healthcare professionals such as nurses and physicians. They must meet with these professionals regularly, so they can have a more accurate information about the diagnoses that will be added to the patient’s records. Clarifying these details also help them ensure the accuracy and quality of records stored in the database for future references.
How to Become a Health Informatics Specialist
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- B.S. in Computer Information Systems / Computer Networking
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- Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science
Individuals who possess a post-secondary certificate, as well as an associate’s degree in health information technology may qualify for this profession. They must undertake relevant courses to this field such as anatomy, classification and coding systems, medical terminology, computer systems, healthcare statistics, and healthcare reimbursement methods.
Other than these credentials, they must obtain professional training on how to utilize classification and coding software used in their place of work. They must also possess an expertise on how to apply the EHR system used in the healthcare facility where they are employed.
To boost your chances of finding employment, it is important to possess a valid professional certification from recognized organizations. Hence, you have to pass all the requirements for certification including an examination or completion of an accredited program. Upon receiving a license, you need to renew it regularly and take further studies or education courses. Among the different certifications that health informatics may possess include Certified Tumor Registrar and Registered Health Information Technician.
For those who wish to advance in their career, they may opt for additional training, education and certification. A master’s degree program, as well as completion of requirements set by the facility will qualify them for a promotion to a better position in the job.
Health Informatics Salary in Canada, Australia and the UK
The salary received by health informatics specialists vary from one country to another. In Canada, the rise of information technology has paved the way for an increasing demand for these professionals. According to experts, health informatics experts in this country earn as much as $50,000 per year. However, their salaries increase as they pursue a master’s degree or a PhD, which enable them to earn as much as $150,000 annually. The rate is even higher for professionals who are bilingual, as they are more in-demand in various healthcare settings and industries in Canada. These professionals may also find work in consulting firms and vendor organizations.
In Australia, the average annual pay for medical informatics ranges from AU$38,066 to AU$51,221. As with other countries, a professional’s educational background, years of experience in the job, and location all have a massive impact to the salary he or se receives. Thus, it is best to pursue higher education that will qualify these specialists to a more lucrative income and better job placement.
UK-based health informatics experts receive £27,076 annually, while those who are more experienced in the job may and a maximum payment of £40,000 per year. For those who wish to receive a higher income might want to consider working at a top-paying city such as London, which offers greater opportunities for career advancement.
Conclusion on Health Informatics Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 440,000 individuals currently work as health informatics specialists. Furthermore, this field is expected to be more in-demand in the coming decade as 78,000 openings for this job will require qualified individuals to fill these vacancies. Hospitals, nursing care facilities and doctor’s offices will need more health informatics specialists who can gather and organize patient information while utilizing relevant software for coding and classification.
With that in mind, these professionals can expect their career to become more profitable as their pay increases with greater demands for qualified individuals in the health informatics field.