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Frequently Asked Questions

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This following information will help you understand the nature and scope of careers in medical informatics.

What is Biomedical Informatics?

"Biomedical informatics is the interdisciplinary field that studies and pursues the effective uses of biomedical data, information, and knowledge for scientific inquiry, problem solving, and decision making, driven by efforts to improve human health.

  • Scope and breadth of discipline: BMI investigates and supports reasoning, modeling, simulation, experimentation, and translation across the spectrum from molecules to individuals and to populations, from biological to social systems, bridging basic and clinical research and practice and the healthcare enterprise.
  • Theory and methodology: BMI develops, studies, and applies theories, methods, and processes for the generation, storage, retrieval, use, management, and sharing of biomedical data, information, and knowledge.
  • Technological approach: BMI builds on and contributes to computer, telecommunication, and information sciences and technologies, emphasizing their application in biomedicine.
  • Human and social context: BMI, recognizing that people are the ultimate users of biomedical information, draws upon the social and behavioral sciences to inform the design and evaluation of technical solutions, policies, and the evolution of economic, ethical, social, educational, and organizational systems.‚Äù (Kulikowski et al., 2012)

See our discussion on the evolution of the field for more information.

What can I do with a degree in biomedical informatics?

People who have a degree in biomedical informatics have a wide variety of career opportunities. The type of informatics career that an individual can pursue is, to some extent, dependent on his or her background, and selected area of study. Biomedical informatics trained professionals may become:

  • Chief Medical Information Officers (CMIOs)
  • Chief Medical Officers (CMOs)
  • Chief Information Officers (CIOs)
  • Directors of Medical Informatics
  • Chief Nursing Information Officers (CNIOs)
  • Project managers
  • Implementation specialists
  • Project designers
  • Researchers
  • Programmers
  • Clinical systems analysts
  • Health information technology (HIT) educators and trainers
  • HIT consultants
  • Template writers
  • Nursing informatics specialists
  • Account representatives

The following examples of settings in which they might work:

  • Hospitals and health systems
  • Community health centers
  • Physician practices and clinics
  • Health care agencies within federal and state government
  • Health information technology system vendors
  • eHealth companies
  • Health insurance companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Academic institutions
  • Consulting services

Resources for current job opportunities can be found on our employment page.

What is the job outlook for HIT?

Organizations without electronic health record (EHR) systems in place by 2015 are subject to penalty, making HIT professionals in high demand.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the HIT market to grow at a rate of about 24% per year from 2012 to 2014.

  • 67% of CIOs report a shortage of HIT staff (CHIME, 2012).
  • 97% of CIOs report open HIT staff positions (CHIME, 2012).

How much do HIT professionals make?

Average salaries of HIT professionals range from $86,294 (staff) to $196,472 (executive management) (HIMSS, 2015).

Where can I find more information about the biomedical informatics field?

References

College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) (2012). Demand persists for experiences health IT staff. Retrieved from http://www.cio-chime.org/chime/press/surveys/pdf/CHIME_Workforce%20_survey_report.pdf

Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) (2015). 2015 HIMSS compensation survey results. Retrieved from http://apps.himss.org/himssorg/compensation/ASP/index.asp#shareGR 

Kulikowski, C. A., Shortliffe, E. H., Currie, L. M., Elkin, P. L., Hunter, L. E., Johnson, T. R., Kalet, I. J., Lenert, L. A., Musen, M. A., Ozbolt, J. G., Smith, J. W., Tarczy-Hornoch, P. Z., Williamson, J. J. (2012). AMIA Board white paper: definition of biomedical informatics and specification of core competencies for graduate education in the discipline. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 19, 931-938. doi:10.1136/amiajnl-2012-001053

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