Guest post by Lauren Willison, director of admissions, Florida Polytechnic University.
Today’s medical devices feature the most cutting-edge technology and sensors to improve patient health, from Fitbits that track heart rate during exercise to devices that can test and display blood glucose levels on a smartphone. Healthcare professionals have also welcomed the use of smart devices and tablets to enhance hospital or clinic visits, lower costs and reduce medical errors.
The demand for health informaticists grows substantially with every government push to adopt technology and ease the switch from paperwork to electronic health records (EHR) systems. To ensure the next generation of health informaticists are learning the skills needed to adapt as technology advances, many universities are offering a health informatics degree program that emphasizes hands-on learning in health IT, data analysis and the healthcare system.
Here’s a look at what a formal education in health informatics looks like today, and what in-demand skills employers can expect from health informaticists down the road:
Health Care System Analysis and Assessment Outcomes
Improvements to the healthcare system begins with a thorough understanding of what the current system lacks. Today’s health informatics courses allow students to examine healthcare needs and analyze the supply and distribution of health professionals and facilities. These courses also explore current industry pain points, particularly care costs, how to assess care quality, and the financial models of care used in both private health insurance systems and government programs.
Health informatics students are also familiarized with methods for determining quality of care and the economic impacts of health care models. Courses examine the outcomes and value added from the view of patients and providers, with a focus on determining standards for setting organizational policy.
Health Care History and Implementation of EHR Systems
To understand the role that health informatics plays in improving the healthcare system, students also cover the history of the U.S. healthcare system. By exploring current trends in electronic health records – including social, ethical, economic and cultural impacts of choices – students will be prepared to identify what improvements can be made to EHR systems later in their careers as health informaticists.