Friday, May 2, 2014

Building a Career in Health Informatics

Health informatics, also known as health information system, is a discipline that combines healthcare, computer science and information technology. It is an upcoming field that deals with acquisition, storage and management of information in healthcare industry, in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes, medical research companies, public health department, pharmaceutical companies and other similar settings.

Nowadays, practically every clinic, nursing home, hospital and pharmacy maintains electronic records of their patients and clients, which can be quickly retrieved and used at anytime. This not only saves precious time of clinicians and other professionals in healthcare industry, but also helps improve patient care. In order to offer superior medical care to patients, it's important to access the information at the right time and at the right place.

This has resulted in a significant increase in the demand for professionals who are well versed in medical terminology and are able to use tools, algorithms, and health informatics methods to acquire, store, maintain and use data for healthcare establishments. They are also expected to analyze and model data, develop healthcare databases and apply different computer medical-imaging techniques.

Building a Career in Health Informatics

Aspiring health informaticians will have to undergo a formal health informatics program, acquire skills to design, develop, modify and test software for healthcare applications and be well versed in medical terminology.


A post-secondary health informatics education is a mandatory requirement to seek employment in this industry. The program incorporates the knowledge of healthcare systems and information technology. It lays emphasis on user oriented interface design, software design methodologies, and structure of healthcare information systems, data security and privacy in healthcare systems.

The students are also taught to work on/with C#, J2EE, Java, MS-SQL Server, Unix/Linux, .NET, HTML and Rational/WebSphere. A strong focus is on data warehousing, data mining and BI tools in healthcare systems.
To apply for this program, the candidates will need to submit an application along with a secondary school diploma certificate or equivalent, and scores of English Grade 12 C or University and Mathematics Grade 11 M or 12 C or University.

Hands-on Experience

The aspiring health informatics professionals will also need substantial experience to become employable. A good and recognized program incorporates software development projects that help students utilize their theoretical, technical and business skills gained in classroom and put them to practice. These real world business applications will help them acquire practical experience, which is necessary to seek employment.

Choosing the Right Course

As health informatics is an emerging field, it is important to carefully choose a college and the program. Although a number of colleges offer health informatics courses but all may not help you fulfill your career goals. Moreover, all programs are not accredited.

Centennial College's three-year post-secondary program is a fully CTAB/CIPS accredited program. In addition, the course is delivered using leading edge technology geared to industry standards. It also incorporates project-based learning.

The program prepares students to seek entry-level jobs in the field of health informatics with schools, public health departments, hospitals, clinics, health networks and government.

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