What is Health Informatics?
Health informatics - applied health care IT - is seen as one of the key components to creating an improved, higher-quality health care system. Health Informatics is the rapidly developing scientific field that utilizes computer technology in the advancement of health care. As an applied science Health Informatics sits at the junction of computer technologies, information science, clinical practice and business management.
It is the study of how:
- health data are collected, stored and communicated;
- those data are processes into health information suitable for administrative and clinical decision making; and
- computer and telecommunications technology can be applied to support these processes.
Health Informatics is the rapidly developing scientific field that utilizes computer technology in the advancement of health care. As an applied science Health Informatics sits at the junction of computer technologies, information science, clinical practice and business management. It is the study of how health data are collected, stored and communicated; how those data are processed into health information suitable for administrative and clinical decision making; and how computer and telecommunications technology can be applied to support these processes.
Students learn to identify what information and data are needed by doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, consumers, patients, government planners and other health care professionals and how they are used in order to make effective health care decisions. Graduates from a degree program in health informatics work in a variety of environments. These include hospitals, medical research laboratories, health insurance companies, Internet companies, health information technology suppliers, or consulting organizations. Within each of these environments lie opportunities as database administrators, project managers, project designers, computer programmers, researchers, or systems analysts.
Nature of Work
Health informatics specialists are the link that joins computer systems and health care. They work collaboratively with medical and health care professionals on computer-related projects and problem solving. A graduate of our program is able to design, implement, and support the computer systems needed in all aspects of health care including information management, medical education and research, disease diagnosis and treatment, patient monitoring and reporting.
Expert technical training prepares our graduates to design and maintain medical databases, computer networks, and internet or multimedia applications. Working in hospitals or other health care setting the graduate provides the computer expertise physicians and other medical professionals need for patient care. People who envision the potential benefits of using computers and want to work at the interface of technology and society will likely find Health Informatics a rewarding profession.
Employment prospects are excellent. There is a growing demand for computer professionals in every field and especially in health care. Oregon Tech graduates possess the strong business and scientific knowledge base and the computer science or information technology skills necessary to efficiently integrate computer technology in the health care field. Career opportunities exist in a variety of organizations including hospitals, health care organizations, third part insurers, public health agencies, research institutions, medical groups and clinics and industries engaged in health care IT. Graduates are employed as consultants, managers, systems designers, database administrators, systems analysts and researchers. Salaries for graduates are typically between $40,000 and $45,000 with some positions offering up to $75,000. Opportunities for advancement are many and they are either in a technical or managerial area.
Is a Career In Health Informatics Right For You?
Health Informatics attracts individuals who want to work with people, are analytical, are self-motivated and enjoy problem-solving. Entering the new field of Health Informatics is very exciting and offers many opportunities. However, it also requires a high level of commitment from the student. The skills required to enter the workforce at a high level include academic knowledge, experiential skills and personal attributes. Oregon Tech’s program focuses on each of these areas to assure students that they have prepared for their career paths. Employers are looking for graduates who have acquired the personal skills in:
- problem solving,
- critical thinking,
- people management,
- project management,
- time management,
- independent thinking and
- a passion for what they are doing.
About the Program
The Health Informatics undergraduate program, the first of its kind for Oregon public universities, is an option within the Department of Information Technology at Oregon Tech. It prepares students for a career as information and computing specialists in the health care field. Fits the lifestyle of working adults.
It gives them a strong background in business management, information systems, computing science and health care providing them with the necessary knowledge of the field of health informatics. Currently located at Oregon Tech’s Portland Campus, the Health Informatics Program is aimed at working adults who already have some general education college credit. The program is designed to fit the lifestyle of working adults by offering evening and weekend classes and to provide the maximum opportunity for employment and promotion. Some courses are also available via online distance education.
Oregon Tech's hands-on approach to education assures that you will have the right skills to meet to enter the job market prepared for high paying high quality positions. The Oregon Tech program offers exceptional student to teacher ratios in both classroom and laboratory experiences. Faculty members are also directly involved in direct student counseling and advising.
Students can expect to take courses in the areas of:
- database design,
- computer networks,
- health care technologies and infrastructure,
- organizational development,
- information resource management,
- medical terminology,
- systems analysis,
- healthcare ethics,
- research methods,
- leadership and
- project management.
To be most effective and provide an in-depth learning experience, several educational approaches are utilized, including lectures, case studies, presentations, practice assignments, in-class discussions, group work, and hands-on exercises. In addition, skills necessary for today's technology professional are emphasized in the program, including communication, information research and analysis, interpersonal skills, critical thinking, problem solving, presentations, teamwork, and writing. The program is designed to provide students not only with practical exposure to real system development and the issues faced by modern IT and health care professionals.
The Health Informatics Computer Simulation Lab provides real-world hands-on experiential learning using the actual computer information systems deployed in hospitals and medical clinics.