Learn informatics with online courses and programs
What is informatics?
The informatics field is a branch of information science that combines data and information technology to solve problems and improve outcomes for humans and society.
Most broadly applied in health care, health informatics uses health records and other data to help health care workers make clinical health decisions and solve public health problems. Using biomedical informatics for public health helps public health professionals use population data analytics and apply their findings for better community health outcomes. Clinical informatics is a growing field that can help improve patient care and health care access.
Informatics systems are becoming increasingly smarter with advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Read on to learn more about the informatics field, informatics courses, and the applications of informatics.
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Informatics course curriculum
Informatics courses may help learners better understand topics such as how to provide safer health care delivery, how to master electronic health records systems, or how to execute on the best practices in health care data analytics and visualization. Self-paced free informatics courses range in length from several weeks to several months, depending on how much time a learner spends on the course each week.
It is important to note that informatics courses touch on a range of subjects. Some informatics tutorials may explore domestic and international health care systems, and the application of informatics to help solve problems in health care delivery. Other informatics tutorials cover how medical information can be applied to population health on a local or global scale.
Informatics professionals may hold degrees such as a bachelor’s in computer science or a data science degree, or complete graduate-level coursework in data science.Some informatics classes may offer graduate certificates for learners or provide the knowledge they need to obtain professional certifications such as the American Medical Informatics Association Health Informatics Certification (AHIC) or Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT).
Careers in informatics
There are a variety of careers in the informatics field. Informatics professionals often work in health care. Examples of roles in the field of informatics include:
Bioinformatics or biomedical informatics professionals, who apply data modeling to biological data and analyze health care information to identify trends and improve decision-making.
Chief medical information officers (CMIOs), who oversee an organization’s health informatics and health records initiatives. Many CMIOs train as physicians before advancing to this executive role.1
Clinical informatics specialists, including nurse informaticists or informatics pharmacists, who often have a medical, nursing, or pharmacy background. They work in health care settings to manage information technology and connect clinicians and data.23
Health informatics specialists and health information technicians, who are typically entry-level professionals who work with health records and data for health care facilities, governments, insurance companies, pharmaceutical or medical device companies, or public policy organizations.4
Public health informaticians, who work to improve health outcomes for communities through interpreting health data.
Although some informatics professionals may hold bachelor's degrees or master's degrees, certain informatics positions may only require applicants to hold certifications in the field, such as Certified Professional Coder (CPC), Certified Coding Associate (CCA), or Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT).5 Completing a data analytics boot camp is another option to explore to learn specialized skills.
In addition to completing the requisite coursework, informaticists should possess analytical skills, strong integrity, interpersonal skills, and be detail-oriented. Knowledge of coding and computer programming languages may be helpful in some roles, too.
How to become an informatics specialist online
Completing an online degree program, such as an online bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science or data science, can be a good place to start for learners interested in becoming informatics specialists. Many informatics specialists also have a background in nursing, medicine, or pharmacy.
In addition to the skills mentioned above, it can help if informatics specialists and other professionals have a strong understanding of regulatory guidelines, as well as technical skills such as data visualization. Boot camp programs can be an effective way for informatics professionals to learn hands-on skills and practical knowledge to launch or advance their careers.