A tablet displaying heath informatics data and images
What is Health Informatics?

The Health Informatics field is diverse and expanding, with demand being fueled by the healthcare industry's focus on evidence-based medicine, quality improvement, data security, and patient accessibility. 

What is Health Informatics?

Approximately 30% of the world's data is generated by the healthcare industry, and it is expected to rise to 36% by 2025. The ability to effectively analyze and deploy this data is critical to the successful operation of healthcare organizations.

However, a recent report by Arcadia found that less than 60% of data generated by healthcare organizations is being used to make intelligent business decisions. At the same time, 93% of healthcare leaders agree that quality data is critical to their performance. But investing in analytics remains a common challenge across healthcare organizations large and small.

This information explosion, the advancement of technology in the medical field, and the need to keep sensitive data confidential, has created a robust market for health or medical informatics specialists, who work at the intersection of information science, computer science, and health care.

What do Health Informatics professionals do?

A woman works on a laptop computer.
  • Apply the effective uses of biomedical data, information, and knowledge for scientific inquiry, problem-solving, and decision making.
  • Use data analytics and artificial intelligence to develop insights and drive innovations in the health care industry.
  • Improve patient portals, create cloud-based health care systems, and help personalize treatment plans.
  • Help improve patient outcomes and make health care systems more efficient by optimizing health care delivery and centralizing information such as medical records.
  • Develop new medical technology, design public health strategies, and digitize of health care records, systems, and processes.
  • Integrate electronic health records with existing systems, aiming for minimal organizational disruption and even improved delivery of healthcare services.

What’s driving the need for health informatics professionals?

The health informatics field is diverse and expanding, with demand being fueled by the health care industry's focus on evidence-based medicine, quality improvement, and data security and accessibility for patients.

  • Electronic Health Record (EHR): Perhaps the most well-known application of health informatics is the adoption of electronic health records. In the US, the Affordable Care Act of 2009 requires that healthcare institutions transition to a fully digital medical record system. This requirement impacts every aspect of a healthcare institution’s operations.
  • Predictive Medicine: Health informatics is helping to shape a new era of predictive medicine using Big Data and AI, leveraging the huge quantities of data now available through sources such as wearable medical devices. Predictive tools have the potential to help clinicians better predict who will get sick when and how best to intervene to improve outcomes.
  • Epidemic Tracking: Health informaticists are assisting in capturing and translating data into usable information to track infectious diseases and create systems to predict and prevent epidemics.

What fields are part of Health Informatics?

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Chemical informatics
  • Consumer health informatics
  • Data informatics
  • Data privacy
  • Decision support systems
  • Dental informatics
  • Ethics
  • Global health informatics
  • Healthcare
  • Home care
  • Information security
  • International healthcare systems
  • Nursing informatics
  • Telemedicine
  • Translational research informatics

What are some career areas in Health Informatics?

Doctors and nurses view data and images on a computer.
  • Public health informatics focus on how to use information technology to educate the public. They study computer science and use their computer skills to keep track of current medical research. They also design and implement new methods in the field.
  • Organizational informatics is the study of both communication within medical organizations and the collation of data used by such organizations.
  • Social informatics involves research on the social implications of computerization and the way that information technology affects society's perception of these systems. Social informatics is based more on research and theory.
  • Clinical informatics involves the study of the ways that information technology affects clinical research and medical education. When coupled with social informatics, it also complements patient education and perception of the process.

What do Health Informatics professionals earn?

Job titles and career paths are diverse in the health informatics field. 

Broad Health Infomatics Fields Salaries and Job Outlook
Field, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook 2023 Median Annual Pay Job Growth 2022-32 Employment Change 2022-32
Medical and Health Services Managers $110,680 28% (much faster than average) 144,700
Computer and Information Systems Managers $169,510 15% (much faster than average) 86,000
Management Analysts $99,410 10% (much faster than average) 95,700

See additional computing salary information.

Where do Health Informatics professionals work?

  • Computer/information security firms
  • Governmental agencies
  • Health informatics firms
  • Health insurance companies
  • Hospital and healthcare systems

  • Long-term care facilities
  • Medical billing firms

  • Medical clinics and doctor's offices
  • Medical insurance firms
  • Medical oversight firms
  • Medical software and technology firms

  • Multi-center hospital systems
  • Public health organizations
  • Research laboratories


What are some Health Informatics job titles?

  • Health informatics specialist
  • Clinical analyst
  • Clinical informatics specialist
  • Nursing informatics specialist
  • Pharmacy or nutrition informaticist
  • Clinical informatics manager
  • Health informatics consultant
  • Informatics nurse
  • Healthcare IT project manager
  • Informatics director

How do I become a Health Informatics professional?

Because health informatics is a technical and business-oriented occupation, most health informatics positions require a bachelor's degree or master's degree, which is typically preferred for higher-level, higher-paying roles. Some common health informatics-related degrees are:

  • Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics
  • Bachelor of Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science Business—Information Technology Management
  • Master of Science in Health Informatics
  • Master of Information Systems
  • Master of Health Informatics
  • Master of Nursing Informatics

What do Health Informatics majors study?

  • Software, databases, and analytical tools that process biological information.
  • How to design and implement innovative applications and promote new technologies in health care, such as medical decision support systems, telemedicine applications, and medical ethics and biostatistic guidelines
  • How to use various resources, devices, and methods to learn to optimize the acquisition, storage, retrieval, interpretation, and use of health and biomedicine information.
  • How to retrieve and share information efficiently, think critically while problem solving, and make decisions based on the best possible patient outcomes.

What skills do Health Informatics specialists need?

  • Computer Programming. Some health informatics specialists design computer programs to automate the application of statistical analysis techniques to clinical data, drawing out insights with the aid of technologies like artificial intelligence.
  • Data Analytics. The role of data analytics in health care is expansive, and health informatics pros use descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics to discover patterns, forecast, and problem solve.
  • Health Care IT: Health informatics specialists work closely with health information technology like electronic health records (EHR) and clinical health data systems. They are comfortable working with data generated by technologies such as telemedicine, wearable health devices, electronic prescription services, patient portals, and consumer health care apps.
  • Management: Senior and executive positions in health informatics, such as director of health informatics or chief medical information officer, involve managing teams of informatics specialists or heading up strategic project management.

The Future of Health Informatics

Healthcare professionals consider information on a computer

The digitization of healthcare is well underway, and today's rapid progression in artificial intelligence, data security standards, and big data is affecting our daily lives more and more. The need to respond to these changing technologies assures the future of the health informatics field, as these professionals will lead the efforts to adapt in this new landscape.

  • Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Interoperability: EHR adoption and the focus on interoperability to facilitate data sharing among healthcare providers.
  • Telehealth and Remote Monitoring: Accelerated adoption of telehealth and remote monitoring technologies for virtual healthcare delivery.
  • Big Data and Analytics: Increasing reliance on big data and analytics for predictive analysis, personalized medicine, and population health management.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning: Growing use of AI and machine learning in healthcare for tasks like image analysis, predictive analytics, and drug discovery.
  • Mobile Health (mHealth) and Apps: The role of mobile apps and wearable devices in health monitoring, medication management, and patient engagement.
  • Ethical, Legal, and Security Considerations: Ongoing discussions and regulations related to ethical use of health data, patient privacy, data security, and legal compliance.

Health Informatics at Michigan Tech

There is a growing need for health informatics credentials among professionals in the fast-growing, data-driven healthcare sector. Students and working professionals can acquire these credentials through Michigan Tech’s MS in Health Informatics program. The Michigan Tech MS in Health Informatics can be completed at your own pace, fully online, on campus, or as an accelerated master's. Flexibility is built in.

University tudents at a round table

The Master of Science in Health Informatics is designed to:

  • Deepen understanding and knowledge of medical informatics and computer/information security.
  • Provide a flexible curriculum that's workable for both traditional and nontraditional graduate students.
  • Provide research opportunities within the field of medical informatics.

A Flexible, Stackable Master's Program

Ranked as a top program in Michigan, the interdisciplinary 30-credit-hour MS in Health Informatics at Michigan Tech is composed of four stackable graduate certificates that can be completed in any order. Students who successfully complete the required courses work will earn an MS in Health Informatics degree plus 3 graduate certificates (1 foundational certificate + 2 focus area certificates). Completion of the individual certificates may also count toward employer continuing education requirements.

Foundations of Health Informatics

You'll begin with the 12-credit Foundations of Health Informatics certificate, then complete two of the three focus-area certificates listed below. A custom plan of study for is formulated for each individual as they enter the program. The Foundations certificate courses are offered in the fall and/or spring semesters.

Foundations of Health Informatics (12 credits)

Provides academic training in fundamental topic areas such as security and privacy, data analysis, programming, and system analysis. The Foundations certificate can be completed in two semesters, on-campus or fully online. Successful completion of the Foundations certificate and two of the three focus area certificates leads to a Master of Science in Health Informatics.

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare (9 credits)

The AI in Health Informatics sector needs professionals of many kinds to support, implement, assess, teach, and research AI healthcare solutions. The field is young and opportunities are plentiful and well-compensated.

Public Health Informatics (9 credits)

Computing has become pervasive in the healthcare sector, and managing and deriving valuable information related to public health is critical. Learn fundamental knowledge and competencies in the application of public health informatics.

Security and Privacy in Healthcare (9 credits)

Healthcare privacy is complex, and there is a delicate balance between keeping patient data secure and safely sharing it. The importance of safeguarding the personal healthcare information, as well as protecting hardware and software systems against attacks, cannot be overstated.

Health Informatics Research at Michigan Tech

  • Proactive and Responsive Holistic Wellness Solutions in K-12
  • Enhancing Emotional Well-being through AI-Enabled Self-Regulation Interventions
  • Improved Automated Quality Control of MSK Radiographs using Deep Learning
  • Improved Fracture Risk Predictions through Opportunistic Screenings
  • Improved Public Health Disease Surveillance Architecture and Modeling
  • Enhancing Behavioral Health Capacity and Clinical Decision Modeling
  • #3
    Best Medical Informatics Colleges in Michigan
  • #6
    Best Online Master’s in Health Informatics
  • #8
    Best Master’s in Health Informatics Degree Programs
  • Top 3
    Best Online Health Informatics Master's Degrees in Michigan