Health informatics—also referred to as health care informatics—is a multidisciplinary area of expertise that applies health information technology, computer science, management skills and other disciplines to the health care industry. Health informatics can refer to the management and use of a patient’s health care information, especially when it comes to using information technology to analyze health data and other records to improve health care outcomes.
Preparing people for health informatics careers may involve earning a master’s in health care informatics, but not all educational institutions offer a program in this field. Our health care informatics job and salary guide can help you determine if a career in health informatics is right for you.
Health Informatics Degree Careers Description
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) defines health informatics as “the interdisciplinary study of the design, development, adoption and application of IT-based innovations in health care services delivery, management and planning.”
Informatics employees who work in a health care setting might be considered to be more “behind the scenes” when it comes to the daily operations of places such as hospitals or physicians’ offices. It’s actually rather rare that someone who works in health care informatics would find themselves in a caregiving environment or having much interaction with patients.
While this may be the case, these workers remain essential to a functioning organization that stays on top of and continually improves upon best practices. Health care involves working with massive amounts of patient data that needs to be readily available for caregivers. Health informatics workers play a large role in the development, implementation and maintenance of the infrastructure on which this data is handled. Efficiency, intuitiveness and security are always in the back of an informatics worker’s mind.
Health informatics can be a promising career path, because it allows candidates to work in the health care industry and help patients by proxy. Many individuals wish to pursue a career that helps people, but don’t necessarily wish to become a nurse, doctor or other medical worker.
4 Great Jobs in Health Informatics
There are many subsets of the health care industry where someone with a master’s in health informatics could apply their knowledge. Let’s take a look at some of the jobs in this area of expertise that stand out as paying particularly well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Please note, however, that some job titles in health care informatics may have additional or different qualifications on a case-by-case basis.
Nursing Informatics Jobs
Nursing informatics is a subfield of nursing that incorporates information technology to create and maintain systems that support medical informatics data and ultimately improve quality of care for patients. It’s not uncommon for registered nurses with an interest in informatics to work with IT specialists to create and improve upon these systems collaboratively.
A health informatics consultant (also called a health informatics management analyst) designs, maintains, and ensures ease of use when it comes to various medical records systems and other large sets of data that health care institutions must be able to easily and efficiently access. As implied by the name, these consultants often work temporarily as contractors for large IT-related projects. According to the BLS, the median salary of management analysts in 2019 was $85,260.
Health Services Manager Jobs
A health services manager also works with large amounts of data pertaining to patients and business alike. But they differ from IT-focused workers in that they actually draw insight from the data they work with to maximize patient care and improve the logistical processes that come with health care. They’re always finding ways to improve efficiency in any way they can. The median salary of medical and health service managers in 2019 was $100,980.
Health Care IT Project Manager Jobs
A health care IT project manager takes care of all things information technology within clinical informatics settings. They implement new technology and improve and upgrade software for health care institutions, while also keeping track of costs, schedules, etc. Their technical skills combined with traditional project management skills put health care IT project managers in a unique position to bring value to their business. BLS data shows the median salary of computer and information systems managers (which includes non-health care IT managers) in 2019 was $146,360.
Health Informatics Job Outlook
The BLS categorizes careers in health informatics under “Medical and Health Services Managers.” The most recent employment data for these workers projects the number of jobs in this field to rise from 406,100 in 2018 to 477,600 in 2028—an 18% increase over 10 years, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
Like other jobs in the health care industry, demand for health informatics employees is expected to increase as an aging population requires more resources from our health care system. Additionally, technological advancements that improve operations show no sign of slowing. As newer, safer and more efficient processes emerge, health informatics workers will be needed to implement them across institutions.
What Is the Median Health Informatics Salary?
The BLS doesn’t have salary data specifically for health informatics careers. The best way to get an idea of the average health informatics salary is to look at similar job titles for which the agency does provide data. Those are listed above, and we recap them here:
Medical and Health Services Managers: $100,980 per year/$48.55 per hour
Computer and Information Systems Managers: $146,360 per year/$70.37 per hour
Management Analysts: $85,260 per year/$40.99 per hour
It’s important to keep in mind that the job titles above encompass more than just health informatics workers specifically. These figures are meant to give you a general idea of the average health informatics salary.
5 Best Paying Cities for Health Informatics Careers
For the best paying cities for careers in health informatics, we used BLS data pertaining to the job title medical and health services manager. See their salary data below, along with the current number of health informatics jobs held in the city/metropolitan area.
Annual Mean Wage
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA
Top States for Health Informatics Jobs
Here are the five states with the most medical and health services manager jobs, according to the BLS, with annual mean wages.
Employment per Thousand Jobs
Annual Mean Wage
Is a Career in Health Informatics Right for You?
A large part of the appeal of a career in health care informatics is the ability to use a unique, technical set of skills to improve patient care and wellness. If you want to work in health care and make a positive difference, but don’t necessarily wish to become a medical worker or caregiver, you can do so in the field of health informatics. Qualified health informatics employees combine technical skills with people skills to provide a well-rounded asset to the institution for which they work.