This article explores the health information manager career, which is one option for professionals holding a master's degree in health informatics. Basic information for health informatics specialists is also provided as a comparison.
Health informatics specialists manage how health information is collected, analyzed, used and retrieved via electronic medical record systems. For those holding a master's degree in health informatics the job outlook is better than average.
|Career||Health informatics specialist||Health information manager|
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||15% for medical records and health information technicians*||17% for medical and health services managers*|
|Median Salary||$60,692 as of Jan 2016**||$94,500 as of May 2015*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; ** PayScale.com
Educational Information: Master's in Health Informatics
Candidates for a master's in health informatics often enter the program from bachelor's programs in either health care or computer systems. The master's in health informatics degree combines aspects of both disciplines.
Master's in Health Informatics Coursework
Coursework includes classes in management, mathematics, information systems concepts, health care coding, statistics and data mining, sociology, economics and medicine- and nursing-related subjects. Some universities may pair the health informatics curriculum with public health-related coursework, adding classes in epidemiology, community health, environmental and occupational health and public health management. In addition, many degree programs require a semester of fieldwork, a master's thesis or research project.
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Career Information: Master's in Health Informatics
Graduates with a master's in health informatics often take a position as a health information manager. These professionals bridge the gap between health care practitioners and computer and data processing specialists and are responsible for maintaining and securing all patient records. They keep current in computer and software technology as well as in all federal and state laws which regulate the use and security of electronic patient records. They are often required to stay up-to-date in clinical guidelines and medical terminology. In addition, as patient data become more frequently used for maintaining health care quality and in developing medical research projects, health information managers are also tasked with keeping patient, hospital and practitioner data secure and accurate.
Health information managers work in settings such as public health agencies, federal government agencies, hospitals, non-profit medical and health associations, pharmaceutical companies, physician group practices or insurance companies.
Salary Information and Job Outlook: Health Information Managers
According to U.S. News and World Report, graduates with a master's in health informatics generally are more than likely to have a job waiting for them after graduation for a variety of reasons. First, clinicians are seeking accurate and secure health data to help them practice more evidence-based medicine. In addition, physicians and other treatment professionals are becoming more focused on improving the overall quality of health care. Finally, because of federal regulations that demand that health care data be electronic, accurate and secure, the need for these professionals is expected to continue to increase.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health information managers fall into the larger employment category of medical and health services managers. Employment of these professionals is expected to grow faster than average at 17% between 2014 and 2024. The BLS reports a median average annual salary of $94,500 for this position as of May 2015. While hospitals are expected to employ the largest number of these health care professionals, many new health services manager jobs are expected to be created in health care practitioners' offices during that decade.
While a master's degree in health informatics is not a requirement for some health information manager positions, the graduate level degree almost ensures employment. Health information managers are expected to be in high demand over the next ten years and earn considerably more than health informatics specialists.