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Informatics Overview

Overview

For more information on careers in this field, see the list on the right. For salary ranges, schooling requirements and more, check out the Career Explorer.

Health or medical informatics is a discipline that includes all aspects of health care information science, from fundamental research to clinical applications. Medical informatics encompasses all means of understanding and promoting the effective organization, analysis, management and use of information in health care. Although the medical informatics field shares the general scope of these interests with some other health care specialties and disciplines, medical informatics has developed its own areas of emphasis and approaches that have set it apart. 

People who work in medical informatics are highly educated in both information science and health care. They understand how to acquire, store, protect, retrieve and use a wide range of information about health and medicine. They understand the "ins and outs" of computerized and non-computerized information systems and also are familiar with clinical guidelines, workflows and medical terminology. This is a growing field, but at present the primary areas of specialization include:

  • Clinical informatics
  • Clinical research informatics (including data mining, knowledge representation and discovery, natural language processing)
  • Consumer health informatics
  • Dental informatics
  • Mental health informatics
  • Nursing informatics
  • Pharmacy informatics
  • Primary care informatics
  • Public health/population informatics
  • Telemedicine and mobile computing informatics
  • Translational bioinformatics
  • Veterinary informatics

Informaticians work in various occupational settings, including hospitals, health systems, clinics, ambulatory and extended-care facilities, academic institutions, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, vendor and consulting firms and private practice.

Informatician salaries and compensation vary widely according to specialty, level of education, geographic location and experience. However, a starting salary may be $40,000 to $50,000, but is often higher. A typical workweek is 40 hours, but may vary, depending on roles and responsibilities.

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Note: AMIA reviewed this overview.

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