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Thinking on exploring opportunities in health informatics? These are the skills that may help you

Hello OHT reader :) in this blog post I am going to go over common skills used in the health informatics field to help guide you on what areas you might want to focus on, to get your first entry level job in the field.

If you look at enough job descriptions in this field, you will start to see key similarities between the skills that are often advertised for roles in health informatics. These skills include relevant clinical experience, this could be working previously as a nurse, pharmacy technician, a clinical research assistant or at the help desk at a hospital, it could also be through a degree, obtaining your master’s in health informatics.

You might also see these roles advertising for people who have experience with data visualization tools, this can be something as standard as experience building charts and graphs in Excel to experience with more advanced tools such as Power BI and Tableau. Pro Tip: if you are interested in learning data visualization, I would suggest downloading Power BI Desktop, which you can do so for free and look for free tutorials on Microsoft Learn where you can level-up your data visualization skills in this space.

One programming language that you might see advertised over and over again for health informatics roles is experience with SQL, which stands for structured query language. This is a language that is used to interact with the data stored in databases. With the move to digitising healthcare records, the amount of data that is stored and collected in healthcare organizations has exponentially grown. Which is one of the reasons why a career in health informatics can be fulfilling as problems are always changing, there is never a dull moment!

SQL is used to sort through all the different types of healthcare data that exists from healthcare claims, bloodwork data from the labs and patient demographic information. SQL is used to sort through tons of data and organize messy data into actionable information.

Finally strong communication skills are key in most roles but is especially important in the health informatics field. Often time you will be the “analytical translator” - this is a term that was coined from a McKinsey article, which in my opinion describes the health informatic role beautifully. You might be meeting with clinicians who would like a program or report which helps them to better track certain clinical metrics and they might not be aware of what technical tool would need to be used to build this program or report. Then you might have to meet with developers or IT to communicate the insights of the clinicians and work with them to build a solution.

This has been an overview of key skills that can help you to obtain your first role in health informatics. I hope this blog post has been of value to you, if you are interested in doing a deep dive into how you can get your first role in health informatics check out a more in depth article I have posted here on my website

Alana Esty concluded a masters in Biomedical Engineering and she is currently working in the health informatics field, building clinical reports to help improve patient outcomes in the maternal and child health space. She is also the creator of the Health Analytic Insights podcast where she educates others on how to enter the field of health informatics and interviews experts in the field. The purpose of the podcast is to create a community of individuals who are passionate about the field of Healthcare Analytics and Health Informatics.

Health Analytic Insights Instagram @healthanalyticinsights.


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