Working in Health Informatics
Health Informatics comprises a number of constituencies, each offering different and rewarding career opportunities.
- Clinical Informatics
Clinical Informatics is concerned primarily with the use of information in healthcare by clinicians.
Clinical informaticians transform health care by analyzing, designing, implementing, and evaluating information and communication systems that enhance individual and population health outcomes, improve care, and strengthen the clinician-patient relationship. Clinical informaticians use their knowledge of patient care combined with their understanding of informatics concepts, methods and tools to:
- assess information and knowledge needs of health care professionals and patients,
- characterize, evaluate, and refine clinical processes,
- develop, implement, and refine clinical decision support systems, and
- lead or participate in the procurement, customization, development, implementation, management, evaluation, and continuous improvement of clinical information systems.
Sub-specialist areas have developed, including Nursing Informatics and Informatics for Allied Health Professionals.
- Information and Communication Technology
Information and Communication Technology
In the face of demographic change and financial austerity, the way health and social care is delivered, organised and financed needs to be rethought; fundamental reforms of systems are needed, and these will increasingly be enabled by information and communication technologies (ICTs).
In recent years, the perception of ICT in healthcare has tended to be dominated by big projects like the National Programme for IT but new approaches are required, including telemonitoring, electronic prescriptions, and applications that help prevent people from needing acute care and allow the elderly to live independently in their homes.
Information and communication technology roles in health and social care involve the development, management and support of the ICT infrastructure which supports all other professionals in a healthcare organisation.
- Information Management
Information management is part of the wider interdisciplinary field of Information Science which is primarily concerned with the analysis, collection, classification, manipulation, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information.
It often involves the collection and management of information from one or more sources and the distribution of that information to one or more audiences, and can involve those who have a stake in, or a right to that information.
Information management roles support many important functions in healthcare including:
– audit facilitation
– information analysis
– clinical coding
– clinical audit
– data quality management
– information governance
– planning and performance management
– public health intelligence management
Information managers and analysts in healthcare are responsible for the data and information essential to the planning and delivery of high quality patient services and safe patient care.
- Knowledge Management
Knowledge management comprises the range of strategies and practices used in an organisation to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences which comprise knowledge, either embodied in individuals or embedded in organizations as processes or practices.
Knowledge managers support healthcare professionals and other staff in their education, training and development and professional practice.
- Project and Programme Management
Programme & Project Management
The effective management of portfolios, programmes and projects (P3M) is an essential part of health informatics, whether for the development and implementation of new IT systems and applications, such as on-line patient records systems, or maintaining and improving operational systems and services, such as those that link hospital services with those in the community.
Programmes and projects need to be managed efficiently, within defined constraints of time and budget, and every project will have lessons which can be learned and applied to other projects in the future.
The focus is to establish practices and a recognised and respected P3M profession across health and social care that attracts, develops and retains the best people.
- Health Records and Patient Adminstration
Health Records & Patient Administration
Health records and patient administration staff collate, store and retrieve records used in diagnosis and treatment.
This is a critical role in the NHS due to the vast number of healthcare professionals involved in a patient’s care who need access to this vital information at a moment’s notice.
- Education & Training
Education & Training
Training staff to use clinical systems and other information technology is essential to the delivery of front-line services.
Education and training staff in health informatics ensure all healthcare staff are computer literate as well as delivering application and system training. They can work in informatics services, training departments or in clinical settings.
NHS training services are often supported in delivering high quality education and training to staff through resources and guidance like the ETD Practitioner Development toolkit from the HSCIC which supports trainers and managers in planning their career progression and professional development.
Job Roles in Health Informatics
The Health Informatics Career Framework (HICF) demonstrates the breadth of roles in health informatics.
To look at entry level roles, search for jobs at level 1, at level 2 and level 3.
If you are already working in or considering a career in Health Informatics, or you are a manager of Health Informatics staff, the HICF can identify and open up career pathways and opportunities; it is designed to help individuals plan their own careers, and managers to tailor make a workforce.
Once you have established a career in health informatics, the Development Web section of this site is designed to support your personal and professional development.