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 research informatics
Consumer health informatics
Mental health informatics
Primary care informatics
Public health/population informatics
Telemedicine and mobile computing 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.