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Information Technology in Healthcare and Beyond

December 12, 2014

Graphic showing IT Healthcare

In today’s economy, two of the fastest growing fields are healthcare and information technology. And those areas are colliding, creating new the fields of health information technology and health informatics. But because the fields are new, it can be confusing to know what career opportunities are available, the required education or even what the fields entail. Here is a brief guide to help you understand this rapidly growing phenomenon.

Information Technology

The field of information technology works to individualize computer systems for the specific needs of businesses.

The field of information technology works to individualize computer systems for the specific needs of businesses. IT professionals work with data and communications for all types of companies in virtually every industry. To work in IT, you’ll need a strong background in technology that includes the basics of computer science, programming, databases, operating systems and software. You will also need to understand how to edit software so that it can be used most effectively by a business. Day-to-day responsibilities in IT include problem-solving, customization, integration and managing computer operations in the business world. In this role, you’ll solve operations and security problems that arise as well.

Health Informatics

Think of health informatics as a more specialized facet of IT. It is the developing science of utilizing computer technology for the advancement of medicine. To put it simply, health informatics professionals design and manage health information and clinical support systems.

As the name implies, health informatics is a key part of today’s healthcare industry. It combines information technology, health and communications to improve the quality of patient care and the ability of healthcare organizations to meet the needs of those they serve. Most of the work that health informatics professionals do involves collecting, storing, analyzing and presenting health data in a digital format.

As a field, health informatics is growing rapidly. This is because of the widespread use of electronic health records (EHR) as part of Affordable Care Act requirements. EHRs allow healthcare organizations to store and share patients’ medical history with all of the providers involved in their care.

Health Information Management

Health information management is the management of personal health information in hospitals or other healthcare organizations.

Health information management, on the other hand, is the management of personal health information in hospitals or other healthcare organizations. Although at first it might seem quite similar to health informatics, the key difference is technology. Though professionals in health information management manage data and information resources, they do so using the programs and software that health informatics professionals create. Daily responsibilities include keeping track of medical records and coding. The medical coding system is universal and classifies every diagnosis and procedure for use by providers, insurance companies and federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid. In this role, you’ll organize and manage patient data, code health information and ensure compliance to governmental healthcare standards.

Careers and Job Outlook

The information technology field is projected to grow faster than the national average, at a rate of 17 percent through the year 2022. The average salary of IT specialists is about $49,000 per year, though it varies by specific position and years of experience. Sample jobs in information technology include the following:

  • Computer support specialist
  • Network and computer systems administrator
  • Database administrator
  • Computer systems analyst
  • Computer programmer
  • Information security analyst

Health informatics careers are experiencing rapid growth, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 22 percent increase in employment through the year 2022. This rate is much faster than the national average of 11 percent. The average salary for professionals in this field is $60,000 annually. Some careers in health informatics include:

  • Applications software consultant
  • Database analyst
  • Healthcare chief information officer
  • Clinical information director
  • Health information technician
  • Health information clerk

Health information management is projected to grow 22 percent through the year 2022 as well. The average salary for careers in this area is $34,000. Sample health information management jobs include the following:

  • Health information technician
  • Medical records technician
  • Billing coder
  • Medical records manager
  • Compliance officer
  • Patient information coordinator

Degree Options at King University

Whether you choose an information career related to healthcare or general IT, King University offers the online degree programs you are looking for. The Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics and Bachelor of Science in Health Administration are all good choices for students like you who are interested in technology and healthcare.

At King University, we prepare our students to be qualified professionals that meet the demands of today’s tech-driven job market. Learn more about each of these degrees and discover which one can help you meet your career goals.