A Career in Health Information Technology

The age of information technology is constantly disrupting and redefining the health care industry. Professionals who are interested in exploring the processes and tools used to record, store and analyze complex sets of data may be interested in a career in health information technology. 

By pursuing a Master of Science (M.S.) in Management of Health Informatics and Analytics, you can develop the skills needed to leverage data, optimize health care delivery and improve patient outcomes. 

What Is Health Information Technology?

Health information professionals collect, analyze and translate the massive amount of data being generated by today’s latest technologies. Artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, machine learning and the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) are some of the emerging technologies being leveraged to transform the health care landscape. 

The health care industry is no longer solely composed of medical experts. It also includes technical, administrative and financial experts who are disrupting the health care space continuously. 

Although occupational duties vary, leaders in health information technology typically perform the following job functions:

  • Design, implement and maintain technological strategies to enhance innovation in health informatics
  • Evaluate public health policies and procedures to ensure optimal health informatics application across systems
  • Improve efficiency and quality in delivering health care services
  • Manage and develop public health programs, monitor their progress and identify ways to optimize and innovate research techniques
  • Prepare and monitor budgets and spending to ensure departments operate within funding limits

How Do I Enter the Health Information Technology Field?

A career in health information technology typically begins with a bachelor’s degree program that offers courses in science, medicine, business, information management, technology, health insurance information and management. Additionally, aspiring health IT professionals who earn a certificate in health information technology or medical coding can bolster their fundamental understanding of the field. 

For those interested in higher-level, managerial positions, earning a master’s degree from a program such as HealthInformatics@GW can position future leaders to go further in their career. Master’s programs in health information technology typically provide a comprehensive overview of the medical informatics systems and tools used in hospitals, physicians’ offices and other care facilities.

Where Do Health IT Professionals Work?

Health information technology professionals work to bridge the gap between advanced medical technologies and the health care industry. There are many applications of technology experts in health care, but common places of employment are:

  • hospitals
  • group practices
  • nursing care centers
  • home health agencies
  • laboratories
  • community care facilities
  • family services agencies 

For those in leadership health IT positions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest employers of medical and health services managers in 2018 were:1

  • Hospitals; state, local, and private— 33 percent
  • Offices of physicians — 11 percent
  • Nursing and residential care facilities — 10 percent
  • Government — 8 percent
  • Outpatient care centers — 7 percent 

Why Health Information Technology?

As the intersection of technology and health care continues to evolve, those with comprehensive knowledge of that relationship may have more flexibility when it comes to choosing a career path. For those seeking leadership or managerial positions, understanding the role of technology and its relationship to the health care market can be extremely beneficial in their career.

Job Growth and Salary Outlook for Health IT Professionals

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of health care occupations is projected to grow 14 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 1.9 million new jobs. In addition, health care occupations are projected to add more jobs than any other occupational group.2 

Those who earn a master’s degree in health informatics may be qualified for a range of positions, including managerial roles:

  • Health information management director
  • Clinical informatics manager
  • Clinical analyst
  • Clinical application specialist
  • Nursing informatics specialist

The median annual wage for medical and health services managers was $99,730 in May 2018. In May 2018, the median annual wages for medical and health services managers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:3

  • Government — $110,460
  • Hospitals; state, local, and private— $108,730
  • Outpatient care centers — $92,390
  • Offices of physicians — $90,920
  • Nursing and residential care facilities — $84,260

Learn More About HealthInformatics@GW

Located in Washington, D.C., the nation’s hub of health policy, the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health is the No. 12 public health school in the country.4

HealthInformatics@GW enables students to earn a master’s in health informatics degree online in as little as 24 months. Students also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience by traveling to GW’s campus in Washington, D.C. — the nation’s center of health care policy — twice during the program. 

HealthInformatics@GW is a Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Approved Education Partner (AEP), which means the program meets HIMSS’ standards for effective health information technology and health care education.