By earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), you already demonstrated your commitment to advancing your nursing practice and career. If you have a head for data and analysis, you may want to consider pursuing a Master of Science (M.S.) in Health Informatics as well. Plus, some schools like Northern Kentucky University (NKU) offer fully online M.S. in Health Informatics programs, affording you the flexibility to keep working and pursuing career opportunities while you earn your degree.
What is health informatics, and how can it help you improve patient care and outcomes? Here is a brief look at how informatics could take your career to a level you never thought possible.
Informatics: The Basics
Health informatics is basically the use of data, information management technologies and analytics to improve patient care. Components of health informatics like electronic health records (EHRs) allow patient information to move seamlessly — not only within health systems but between integrated care teams and directly with patients. Health informatics professionals also utilize today’s powerful, ever-evolving analytics technologies to derive insight from patient information and broad datasets, helping to guide treatment plans and impact positive health outcomes.
Nurses and other medical professionals use data in many ways. A nurse can take information on patient falls, for example, and use it to help keep those incidents from recurring. Nurses also use informatics to look at different types of treatment and whether they are effective. Nurse informaticists may help develop clinical decision support tools using data to bring best practices and personalized medicine directly to the point of care.
Nurses who enter the field of informatics can continue to work closely with patients while helping implement systems that will improve the level of care. They develop information technology systems and implement those systems, educating doctors and other nurses on how to use them.
Further, nurses with informatics expertise are critical to guiding how evolving artificial intelligence technologies like natural language processing and generative AI are implemented to improve informatics, healthcare processes and outcomes. Clearly, nurses who have the drive and commitment to pursue an advanced degree in health informatics can help shape the future of the profession.
High Satisfaction Levels
According to the 2023 Nursing Informatics Workforce Survey from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), job satisfaction levels among nurses who enter the informatics field are high. More than half of survey respondents said they were highly satisfied with their jobs, and an additional 43% were at least somewhat satisfied, meaning less than 5% of professionals in the field are dissatisfied with their position.
The field of informatics is now an integral facet of the professional medical community, seen as a growing and valued component of patient care. Informatics has a major impact on patient safety and improving outcomes, and is a driving force behind innovation in healthcare. Nurses who can combine their clinical expertise with their analytical expertise are in extremely high demand — and that should continue to be the case for years to come.
What to Expect
If you have a BSN, you already have a track record of hard work. Obtaining an M.S. in Health Informatics will require a lot of effort as well. But with a degree in health informatics, you can position yourself for a wide range of career opportunities with high earning potentials. In fact, 60% of respondents to the HIMSS survey earn a base salary at least $100,000 per year.
Through NKU’s online M.S. in Health Informatics program, you will learn how to identify and collect data, as well as how to process and manage that data. You will gain the skills needed to interpret the data in ways that enhance care delivery. In addition, you will learn how data visualization, artificial intelligence and other components of informatics are changing the healthcare landscape.
An online M.S. in Health Informatics program provides the flexibility and convenience working nurses need. You can study in a way that allows you to maintain your work schedule. This is a rigorous program, but one that will be well worth the effort in the long run.
Learn more about NKU’s online Master of Science in Health Informatics program.