Big data is revolutionizing the health care industry, increasing operational efficiency, accelerating pharmaceutical development and reducing health care costs. Artificial intelligence (AI) can amplify these benefits by helping the industry reduce human error, improve patient care and prevent fraud. But there’s a catch: reaping the benefits of AI requires expert health informatics professionals trained in the application of AI in big data and its potential implications.
If health care informatics and the power of AI to transform the industry inspire you, the Online Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) offered by the University of Pittsburgh can provide the skills, knowledge and credentials to create or advance your career opportunities in this rapidly expanding field.
The Evolving Health Care Landscape
Technology and data occupy the center of the modern health care ecosystem. The global health care industry generates 30 percent of the world’s data, and health care data creation is expected to grow at a 36 percent annual rate by 2025, faster than corresponding rates for financial services, manufacturing or media and entertainment.
Health care data comes in many forms. The most prominent are electronic health records (EHRs), including medical histories, treatment plans and test results. Other data sources include financial and supplier information, disease registries, clinical trial results and research.
Where Health Informatics and Artificial Intelligence Overlap
Health informatics uses biomedical data and expertise in scientific inquiry, problem-solving and decision-making to enhance health care practice and health care outcomes. It helps to reduce prescription errors, expand access to care, and improve population health.
Medical organizations are now also exploring the potential of AI to assist in data management and analysis. For example, pharmaceutical and medical technologies company Johnson & Johnson utilizes AI to accelerate medicine discovery and help surgeons analyze procedure results.
Other applications of AI in health care informatics include automating data entry, reviewing medical records, and analyzing data to identify patterns and trends. According to Philips’ Future Health Index 2023 global report, 37 percent of health care leaders plan to invest in AI to optimize efficiency, 32 percent of leaders are investing in AI to integrate diagnostics, and 39 percent plan to use AI to predict outcomes and for clinical decision support.
Despite the variety of benefits AI brings to the health care industry, the technology is not without its potential challenges, which include managing existing laws and policies for implementing AI systems and addressing errors in AI-based decision-making. Additionally, some health care professionals, such as doctors and nurses, may need training to use AI systems.
The Role of Health Informatics Professionals
Health informatics offers varied job roles and specializations. With 90 percent of hospitals already embracing AI, health informatics specialists with AI expertise are in demand. In response to these industry needs, the Online MS in Health Informatics at Pitt offers the following specialization tracks:
- Data science: Informaticists specializing in data science extract and analyze health care data to gain insights for informed data-driven decision-making. Health informatics jobs in this specialization include health data scientist, health clinical informatics specialist and medical research analyst.
- General health informatics (technology): These roles involve managing the infrastructure and software for health care data storage and processing. This specialization can lead to such roles as health IT project manager, information systems analyst and health informatics consultant.
- Health care supervision and management: Health informatics leaders oversee the use and interpretation of medical data, bridging the gap between the technical teams who gather and analyze data and the medical or research teams who use it. Leadership roles in health informatics include clinical informatics director and chief medical information officer.
- Health services analytics: Health care analysts analyze, design, implement and evaluate health information systems. They provide data and insights to help with patient care, research, quality improvement, planning and other functions. Health services analytics roles include medical research analyst, health informatics data analyst and clinical informatics analyst.
Pathways to the Health Informatics Profession
Various pathways lead to careers in health informatics. Medical professionals, including doctors, nurses and medical managers, can pursue this career path. It is also accessible to those outside the health industry, such as IT professionals and data analysts. Completing an MSHI program provides access for those looking to pivot to a career in this growing field.
Take the First Step Towards a Future-Focused Master of Science in Health Informatics Degree at the University of Pittsburgh
AI is transforming health care, a trend certain to continue as more organizations employ advanced technology to innovate, improve efficiency and solve problems. To excel in the field, health informatics professionals must understand AI’s use and its limitations.
Pitt’s online MS in Health Informatics can equip you with the expertise to thrive in this industry. It focuses on the technical skills required to translate information into meaningful insights. Students can choose from four specializations, aligning their careers with their interests in data science, technology, leadership, or health services analytics. Online delivery adds flexibility crucial to busy professionals looking to bolster their career prospects without leaving their current jobs.