Bridging the Gap Between Medicine and Technology


November 11th, 2009

By Kitty Holman

Nursing informatics degrees are becoming popular in a world in which medicine and technology are slowly merging closer together.  With the wide array of health care informatics who patrol hospitals now, armed with their dual degrees in medicine and health informatics, the hospital itself has now evolved into a modern organization that prides itself on technological advances.  Nurses have now taken up the challenge within the health care industry and are beginning to earn these degrees as a type of supplemental degree after years in the field.

Health informatics specialists have expertise in medical records and claims, clinical care, and programming.  Typically, these individuals also have an extensive background in health care, explaining why doctors and nurses are the typical recipients of this degree.  While I.T. people run serves and install software around hospitals and clinics, informatics are the ones who interpret and analyze the information and therefore teach the information to the rest of the staff.  The stimulus package earlier this year dedicated $19 billion to electronic health record spending, leading to a skyrocketing demand for health informaticians (and subsequently nursing informaticians).  The chief executive of the American Medical Informatics Association predicted that the country currently has a need of 70,000 health informaticians, leading to a new prevalence in degree recipients.

Typical health informatics specialists start off as computer programmers, doctors, or nurses and earn a graduate degree in health informatics.  After this step, they subsequently move into midlevel or senior positions in hospitals as a result of this higher degree.  Aside from the growing demand of this career supplement, the financial aspect is beneficial as well: most jobs pay nearly 50 percent mor than previous jobs after the employee earns a health informatics degree.  While most midlevel clinical analyst jobs pay around $70,000 a year, other senior level job salaries can be much higher in careers like chief clinical information officer. 

Currently, there are no educational, licensing, or credential requirements for health informaticians, although the past year has seen major science universities that have added master’s programs or certificates in health informatics.  Nursing informatics degrees are becoming even more prevalent within the health industry as nurses typically have more experience with the medical documents and electronic records.  This new vision for health care technology is now overtaking the medical community and has resulted in such a high demand for clinics and doctor’s offices across the country.  Now nurses and other hospital staff have an alternative degree to earn which can help boost their salaries and give them more of a reward for the hard work they perform on a daily basis. 

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