Informatics – the practice of information processing and information system engineering – is having a revolutionary effect on the healthcare industry. Healthcare providers today collect a huge amount of information about their patients, which they use to track health conditions and observe the effects of treatment. Data also helps healthcare administrators to plan and manage services more effectively. As the use of data in healthcare is likely to grow even more in future, the following six specialties are sure to be highly in demand.
1. Clinical Informatics
Professionals working in clinical informatics use data to support clinical decision making. Clinical informaticists evaluate information systems that are used to store patient data and recommend changes that could improve those systems. They train medical staff to use the systems, build interfaces to make data easier to access, and troubleshoot issues with the software and hardware. Job growth in this field is expected to reach 21% through 2020, with hospitals, physicians’ practices, and the military hiring people to work in these roles. Top managers in clinical informatics can earn as much as $200,000.
2. Nursing Informatics
Nursing informatics is a relatively new field that is growing rapidly. Recent federal laws have changed the way healthcare providers are required to handle electronic medical records. Nurses who have technological skills may want to consider looking for a job in this field. Whether they work in hospitals, physicians’ practices, or other healthcare settings, nursing informatics specialists enter patient data into information systems, ensure its accuracy, and enable data analysis to improve patient care. Over the next few years, the number of nursing informatics jobs available could grow by 70,000.
3. Pharmacy Informatics
Pharmacy informatics is a specialty that involves using data in the process of supplying medication. For example, pharmacy informatics specialists use computer systems to control the supply of opiates and other addictive drugs. They may also improve the design of medical devices that deliver drugs, for example by improving the programming that controls infusion pumps. Demand for pharmacy informatics is growing rapidly due to the nationwide implementation of electronic health records. For example, health insurance companies and hospital networks are looking for pharmacy informatics specialists to perform data analysis and prepare reports.
4. Public Health Informatics
Public health informatics involves observing public health trends, preventing outbreaks of disease, and promoting healthy behaviors. Rather than focusing on the health of individuals, public health informaticists concern themselves with the health of populations. Some people in this field prepare for threats such as antibiotic resistant infections and biological attacks. You can find public health informatics jobs in hospitals, government agencies, or private businesses.
5. Consumer Health Informatics
Consumer health informatics roles involve protecting consumer health. Working for private businesses and government agencies, consumer health informatics specialists look for threats that might threaten consumers, such as faulty products. With companies keen to avoid breaking government regulations, consumer health informatics jobs are likely to grow rapidly over the next few years.
6. Ambulatory Informatics
Ambulatory informatics professionals work for regional hospital networks, which may include primary and urgent care clinics. They analyze data and prepare reports to communicate results. With an aging population requiring increasing amounts of support to access healthcare and live independent lives, ambulatory informatics roles are likely to grow in number in the near future.