5 Graduate Specializations in Health Informatics
- Public Health
- Social Informatics
- Clinical Informatics
- Health Service Finance
- Healthcare Information Systems
The world has moved a great deal of its activities online and into cloud computing, and the healthcare industry is no exception. Health informatics is a new but rapidly growing field, and has become critical to the maintenance and improvement of patient care – including accurate information on dosage for drug therapies, patient histories, and much more.
Health informatics is a broad field, and there are a great number of concentrations graduate students in health informatics programs can pursue. Here are five specializations for a Master's in Health Informatics.
1. Public Health
The public health concentration involves the study and analysis of the overall health that communities around the world face – and how they impact one another globally. Public health informaticians work to study what health problems are most endemic to a particular community or region, and make information as accessible as possible to the general public for how best to combat these health problems and help their neighbors do the same. They also provide data to larger health-based organizations, such as the Center for Disease Control.
2. Social Informatics
Social informaticians analyze the link between health, social environments, and technology. Their role is to help quantify the impact of these links, and determine what the consequences of those impacts have been, are, or may be. An example would be the study of increased stress as linked to social media platforms, or orthopedic problems resulting from the use of mobile devices and computer peripherals. Social informatics is a broad and rapidly growing field.
3. Clinical Informatics
Clinical informatics links technological resources with the appropriate delivery of healthcare services. This might include building and integrating systems and tools for usage in a clinical environment by healthcare providers, training providers on these systems and tools so they can be effectively incorporated into everyday clinical practice, and working to increase understanding of the strengthening link between healthcare delivery and technological tools. Clinical informatics is also key to reducing the cost of healthcare and improving patient care.
4. Health Service Finance
The role of the health service finance informatician is somewhat far-ranging. These informaticians may analyze financial data from health institutions to assess its financial outlook and future, and make recommendations based on that assessment. They may also be responsible for assisting in budget analysis and making recommendations, working with insurance companies to set the cost of care, including drugs and procedures, and in assisting in the processing of claims or determining patient eligibility for patient discounts or financial assistance from the institution of treatment.
5. Healthcare Information Systems
A fairly broad but straightforward specialization, informaticians specializing in healthcare information systems help to build and maintain informational systems relating to patient care, as well as overseeing and executing the proper reception, storage, and transmission of data to necessary sources. According to Forbes, big data is playing an important part in the achieving efficiencies in healthcare. Healthcare IS informaticians may work closely with clinical informaticians to achieve these goals, and to work to reduce and eliminate data errors in conjunction with patient care.
From finance and nursing to psychology and computer science, each of these specializations in a Master's in Health Informatics represents different skills and approaches to the field of health informatics. Each of these specializations play a vital role in health informatics, and the future of health and patient care all over the world.