By 2035, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that there will be more Americans older than 65 (78 million) compared to those younger than 18 (76.7 million). With those population milestones looming, it’s no surprise that healthcare is producing more jobs than any other industry, with organizations large and small seeking to add, among others, more health informatics and analytics professionals to their ranks. Though this bodes well for those in search of long-term job security, breaking into the field of health informatics requires a background of knowledge and hands-on experience that is earned through a college education, specifically the Master of Science in Health Informatics and Analytics.
What Is Health Informatics and Analytics?
The healthcare industry’s embrace of big data has transformed everything from the way the medical records are managed and protected to the way doctors diagnose illness and treat their patients. Data analysis leads to better decision making, which leads to lower costs for patients and insurers. The transition, however, to a data-driven approach, created an employment gap, as public and private companies scrambled to find workers skilled in the necessary technologies and techniques.
Rushing to Keep Up With Employment Demand
Job analytics firm Burning Glass sent up the signal flare in 2014, warning that “the labor market is not keeping up with the demand for workers” with health informatics skills. The firm’s report, titled “Missed Opportunities? The Labor Market in Health Informatics, 2014,” recommended that educators, organizations, and policymakers work to develop more opportunities “for students and job seekers to cross-train between healthcare and IT specialties to meet the demand” for positions that require skills in both areas.
UAGC’s Master of Science in Health Informatics and Analytics is designed to bridge that gap, with “a program strongly aligned with healthcare and job market needs,” according to Program Chair Dr. Karen Bakuzonis.
“The [degree] creates a path for students with varying backgrounds, who will learn real-world skills for today’s job market,” she says.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts faster than average growth in the Medical Records and Health Information field – part of an overall trend that will add about 2.4 million new healthcare jobs through 2026. For these health information roles, the agency says employers will rely on workers who “ensure that the information maintains its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper files and electronic systems,” adding that they will, “use various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursements purposes, for databases and registries, and the maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories.”
4 Health Analytics Careers to Consider
With a foundational education in areas that include health informatics, program management, systems, technology management, health data governance, biostatistics, epidemiology, clinical research, and grant writing, graduates of the University of Arizona Global Campus Master of Science in Health Informatics and Analytics program can pursue a number of careers in today’s fastest growing field. Some to consider include:
1. Clinical Informatics Manager
A Clinical Informatics Manager’s role involves oversight of data and the systems that house patient records. As managers, they’ll be responsible for directing staff and ensuring that all processes are running efficiently. Courses such as MHA 616 Health Care Management Information Systems and HIA 608 Health Care Program and Project Management are critical in developing the leadership and analytical skills needed to succeed in this role.
2. Data Architect
Data Architects are needed for a number of industries, and the skills and requirements involved often align with those of a Database Administrator. In healthcare, Data Architects are tasked with developing the databases that store vital information for doctors and patients. An education in data analytics and visualization can be earned in such courses as HIA 620 Data Visualization & Decision Support and HIA 610 Systems Analysis, Design & Technology Management.
3. Health Informatics Analyst
Health Informatics Analysts, also referred to as Clinical Informatics Analysts, are often tasked with managing patient data and communicating information to doctors, patients, and others. The role requires a heavy understanding of the technology tools and methods that an analyst will use every day, understanding that can be gained through courses such as HIA 612 Technology Topics in Information Governance & Analytics.
4. Health Informatics Director
Working your way up from an analyst to a director role requires not only a comprehensive understanding of the aforementioned technology tools and methods, but also leadership skills and the ability to manage in fast-paced and sometimes chaotic healthcare environments. Courses such as HIA 615 Management Topics in Information Governance, MHA 616 Health Care Management Information Systems, and HIA 610 Systems Analysis, Design & Technology Management can help develop a foundation for future leaders to build on.
If you’re interested in an education that will lead to a career in America’s fastest-growing industry, speak to a UAGC advisor about your Master of Science in Health Informatics and Analytics. If you’re already enrolled in the University’s College of Health, Human Services, and Science, reach out to your Career Services team to prepare yourself for new in-school or post-graduation opportunities.