Careers in health informatics

Kimberly Hassell presents information about the program.
Kimberly Hassell presents information about the program. Kenzo Yamamoto / The Watchdog

On May 10, Bellevue College Healthcare Informatics Program Manager Kimberly Hassell held an information session for students interested in the informatics program in room T219. The BC healthcare informatics program offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in health informatics that can be completed in two years, a Certificate of Achievement in Healthcare Informatics that can be completed in one year, and a Certificate of Accomplishment in healthcare data analytics that can be completed in three quarters. Healthcare informatics is a new and growing area of healthcare. It combines knowledge of healthcare, information systems, databases, and technology in order to support healthcare professionals as they take care of patients.

Careers in health informatics include application support, analyst, clinical informatics educator, clinical informatics specialist, database developer, healthcare IT project manager, product specialist, IT support analyst, nurse informatics, systems support specialist, and clinical informatics trainer. Environmental factors such as increased life expectancy in the United States, technological advances and federal healthcare regulations and reforms have increased the amount of related jobs.

The healthcare informatics program is online. However, students complete classes in cohort with their peers in order to build community, maximize collaborative learning, and develop lasting ties and professional networks. Students can virtually communicate with each other, and there is a student healthcare informatics club that hosts speakers and allows students to network with professionals. 81 percent of students that graduate the healthcare informatics program are employed within a year, and 69 percent of graduates are employed locally. New jobs are being created almost daily in the field of healthcare informatics. “A couple years ago there was no such thing as a ‘healthcare data analyst.’ Now that’s one of the most popular areas of healthcare informatics. Other growing areas are consumer health informatics and clinical informatics. Students could work as clinical informaticists, EHR trainers, clinical informatics specialists, or data analysts,” said Pam Charney, healthcare informatics program chair.

Healthcare informatics is one way students can be in the medical field helping people without having to direct patient care. “There are some folks who wanted to be a nurse, but realized they were not comfortable working in the nitty gritty. Or someone who has been working in healthcare for a really long time, but the physical exertion of being in the field is too demanding,” said Kimberly Hassell, healthcare informatics program manager.

There are data and research opportunities within healthcare informatics as well. “There are those who really want to be connected to the data and research. “There are people who want to do genomics, and there are a lot of healthcare informatics professionals in that area,” added Hassell. Healthcare informatic students are also eligible for a free membership to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, a professional organization that provides networking and career information. Students interested in the BC informatics program need to apply with transcripts and a personal statement. Applications for fall quarter are currently open.

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