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Health Informatics: Why is it Different from Other Healthcare Tech Degrees?

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Written and reported by:
All Allied Health Schools Staff

Contributing writer

If you’re a tech whiz, there’s an emerging field of study that combines information technology, clinical practice and business management that might interest you. It’s called health informatics, and it’s all about how technology can improve the way health data are collected, stored, processed and communicated.

Health informatics programs are outnumbered by related programs that have been around longer, such as health information technology or health information management. Those tend to focus more on day-to-day management of patient and health systems data.

What Are the Differences?

Here’s a breakdown of some other key differences among these fields, which are in high demand as health care providers scramble to modernize the way they track the care patients receive:

Health Information Technology

Typical Degree

Associate’s degree

Common Courses

  • Basic medical terminology
  • Introduction to health services and information systems
  • Health insurance and reimbursement

Jobs You Might Get

  • Health record technician
  • Clinical coder
  • Data analyst
  • Patient information coordinator or clinical coder
  • Data analyst
  • Patient information coordinator
  • Health record technician

Job Duties

  • Process and maintain medical records
  • Track patient outcomes
  • Assign clinical codes for reimbursement and data analysis

Health Information Management

Typical Degree

Associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree

Common Courses

  • Information technology (medical records, coding, disease classification)
  • Health care systems (medical terminology, anatomy and physiology)
  • People and processes (speech, communications, project management)

Jobs You Might Get

  • Medical records manager
  • Compliance officer
  • Data quality manager
  • Health information management director

Job Duties

  • Organize and manage patient data
  • Code information for reimbursement and research
  • Ensure compliance with governmental regulations

Health Informatics

Typical Degree

Bachelor’s degree or master’s degree

Common Courses

  • Information technology (network architecture, hardware-software integration)
  • Health care systems (informatics, health care organization, health care finance)

Jobs You Might Get

  • Director of clinical informatics
  • Health care chief information officer
  • Health information systems manager
  • Database analyst
  • Systems analyst
  • Nursing or pharmacy informatics specialist

Job Duties

  • Organize and manage patient data
  • Code information for reimbursement and research
  • Ensure compliance with governmental regulations