With the increased demand for health informatics professionals, it is important to understand the skills set that are needed in this profession. What unique skill set(s) are needed to work in this evolving field? What are some potential ways to advance in this field?
Why is this position important?
How can this position assist in providing quality care?
Reply to 2 classmates’ threads, identifying at least 1 strength and 1 weakness in each classmate’s reasoning. Each reply must be at least 450 words. Each thread and reply must include at least 1 biblical integration and 2 peer-reviewed source citations in current APA format in addition to the textbooks.
Health Informatics is a relatively new discipline that enhances healthcare services and patient care. These highly trained individuals are well-versed in healthcare and information technology. Strong communication skills are essential in this field, as these professionals constantly interact with patients, healthcare providers, and other professionals. Health Informaticist must be skilled and highly trained to perform computer interfaces, database management, business intelligence applications, reports, and data analytics. They must also be familiar with public policies, public health, financial management, and business process assessment (Easterling, 2022).
There are several ways to advance a career in health informatics. Health Informatics and Information Management (HIIM) programs cover health information management and health informatics at the associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degree levels. A candidate pursuing a career in health information management or informatics can earn an associate degree and take the national exam to become a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) (Easterling, 2022, p.291). Other associate degree positions include Health Information Specialist, Release of information coordinator, Patient access specialist, Coder, and so on. To advance to a managerial level, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and pass the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam. Department director, information security manager, compliance officer, project manager, coding manager, and privacy officer are some of the positions available at this level. Candidates with a master’s degree will be promoted to positions such as department chairperson or program director at a college or university, chief compliance officer, and vice president or executive of informatics. Another avenue for advancement is the Certified Healthcare Technology (CHTS) exam offered by American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Upon completion of this exam, candidates could assume roles in workflow assessment, system testing and installation, diagnosis of IT issues, and employee training (Easterling, 2022).
As the healthcare system shifts from paper to digital, it will require intelligent, talented individuals to maintain health information. These individuals would be in high demand in hospitals, private physicians’ practices, and other facilities such as long-term care, hospice, home health agencies, urgent care centers, and rehabilitation centers. These individuals work behind the scenes to improve patient care by simply organizing, storing, and managing health data in electronic health records. This information makes it easier for doctors and nurses to make decisions and achieve results promptly. They also bridge the gap between medicine and information technology, enabling communication with patients and providers, and making them a valued asset to any health facility. (Bryant & Stratton College Staff, 2017). They support healthcare reform goals to improve patient outcomes, lower healthcare costs, and enhance public health. The health informatics professional’s role may not be as prestigious as doctors and nurses in the healthcare system. Still, they are just as crucial in the delivery of quality healthcare. Health informatics professional positions make up a vital part of the healthcare industry.
A wide range of external factors and trends, including pressure to control rising healthcare costs, growth of information interchange, tracking and reporting meaningful use of EHR criteria, and decreasing medical error rates, necessitate informatics. Technological developments have prompted widespread innovation across all medical disciplines. Technology is at the leading edge of the evolution of the healthcare system, from artificial intelligence to 3-D bioprinting and beyond. Health informatics and technology are shaping the future of health care by providing mHealth, telemedicine, electronic health records, wearables, and interoperable healthcare information technology (Mack, 2022). For instance, mHealth offers patients an opportunity to communicate with their provider, schedule appointments, and access their health information using mobile apps. It also provides remote monitoring using a list of medical devices to help providers improve patient compliance. Telemedicine is another improvement in the quality of care as enables providers to communicate with patients virtually from remote locations, and those patients with mobility issues. Telemedicine usage really took off during COVID-19 pandemic to ensure doctors and nurses-maintained continuity of care for their patients (Mack, 2022). Electronic health records (EHR) are the digital patient health history that provides providers with clear picture of past and current health issues. An EHR that is kept accurately and up to date will improve patient care, diagnostics and patient outcomes, and efficiency and cost savings (Mack, 2022). Continuous glucose monitors and Automated Device for Asthma Monitoring and Management (ADAMM) are a few wearables patients wear to collect data in real-time and inform doctors when a crucial medical issue arise. These devices are connected to an app and smart phone that alert the patients and doctors of an impending medical emergency (Mack, 2022).
Bryant & Stratton College Staff. (2017, October). Retrieved from What is Health Informatics & Why is it Important?:
Easterling, L. (2022). Healthcare Informatics. McGraw-Hill.
Mack, J. P.-B. (2022). University of San Diego. Retrieved from 10 Technologies That Are Changing Health Care:
Student 2 (Welches)
Skill sets needed to work in health informatics professions
In health informatics professions, analytic skill is crucial. Electronic health records and a shift toward patient-centric care increased the importance of data analytics in healthcare. (Easterling, 2021) Healthcare informatics professionals verify the validity and accuracy or missing components of medical documentation and utilize it for meaningful use. An HIM professional’s knowledge of how and when data are collected in the healthcare cycle, as well as the definition of each piece of data, gives him or her insights into details that someone with only a theoretical knowledge of data analysis might miss. (Easterling, 2021)
Mapping, crosswalk in another word, from one coding system to another is also needed to compare data gathered with ICD-9 to ICD-10. The ability to map in either direction is known as bi-directional mapping. Some procedural or diagnosis codes map to more than one code in the opposite coding system, known as one-to-many mapping. (Easterling, 2021) Now we no longer use ICD-9 but still ICD-9 codes are seen in health care organization. Considering its evolving characteristics of this field, there might be another transition to a new instituted system in the future and mapping skill is needed in health informatics professions. As a matter of facts, ICD-10 codes and CPT codes are regularly evolved, removing codes or dividing into more specific codes. Health informatics professionals should be able to compare the old codes with the updated codes with mapping skill set.
Potential ways to advance in this field
Like any other professions, there are entry level healthcare informatics professions that requires certificate or associate degree. You can get into health informatics field with one of these entry level positions. Some of common associate-level positions are health information specialist, release of information coordinator, patient access specialist, billing positions, coder, quality improvement specialist, trainer, registrar, transcriptionist, medical office administrator. While you work at one of these positions, you can get online bachelor’s degree to advance your career to management level; managers, officer, or director. Some employers offer education assistance program which can be a reimbursement program or direct payment. With the bachelor’s degree, you can be promoted to a management position. Moreover, you can continue your education to master’s degree and aim for a vice president or executive of information privacy and security, chief compliance officer, chief knowledge office, department chairperson or program director at a college or university.
Why is this position important?
The ongoing implementation, maturation, and use of electronic health information systems require a complementary and overlapping skill set of competent HIM and HI professionals to support these systems in practice. (Gibson et al., 2015) In other words, healthcare informatics professionals support the implementation of electronic health information systems, which is essential in health care system nowadays. In that sense, healthcare informatics professionals play a crucial role in sustaining electronic health information systems.
How can this position assist in providing quality care?
Health information technology helps providing quality care for it improves patient’s safety by reducing medication errors, reducing adverse drug reactions, and improving compliance to practice guidelines. Health information technology presents numerous opportunities for improving and transforming healthcare which includes; reducing human error, improving clinical outcomes, facilitating care coordination, improving practice efficiencies, and tracking data over time. (Alotaibi, 2017) Thus, health informatics professionals assist in providing quality care.
Colossians 3:23-24 reads ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.’ (
) Health informatics profession may seem like it has little to do with patient care, especially because they don’t actually see patients in the clinical setting. However, health informatics support and sustain the electronic health care system, and health informatics professionals greatly affect patients care by improving efficiencies and safety. Whatever you do in the healthcare system, we should work at it with all our heart, as working for the Lord. We are serving the Lord Christ doing so.
Gibson, C.J., Dixon, B.E., Abrams, K. (2015). Convergent Evolution of Health Information Management and Health Informatics.
Alotaibi, Y. K., Federico, F. (2017). The impact of health information technology on patient safety.
Easterling, L. (2021). Health Information Management and Technology.
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