Oregon Health Informatics
As Oregon’s health care system continues to march into the future, the need for capable, computer-savvy data specialists is quickly outpacing the state’s supply. Known as Health Informatics, this new profession is one of the most rapidly expanding fields in the nation. According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, in fact, the labor pool is due for a 20-percent increase in the decade following 2018. This growing mass of technical professionals is tasked with assisting the medical community in its transition into the digital age. Through careful training, Health Informatics practitioners in Oregon will become competent handlers of patient records and other health data, with an emphasis on proper distribution and storage.
Why is there such a demand in this particular sector? Primarily, it is because of the wide variety of institutions and business with a need for their services. Health Informatics techs can work anywhere from correctional facilities to college campuses to hospitals – even veterinarian’s offices and software companies have a need for certified individuals.
Oregon Health Informatics Programs and Certification
While most states offer only two levels of certification, Oregon offers three. Two state colleges, Bend’s Central Oregon Community College and the Portland Community College, each offer two year Associate’s degrees in the field, with graduates earning the title of Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT). Another, the Oregon Health and Science University, offers both a Bachelor’s degree (for certification as a Registered Health Information Administrator, or RHIA), and a Master’s degree program. This final tier is rare indeed, and can be found in only a select few states. Graduates who pass muster at this level will garner recognition as RHIM’s.
Each of these certifications comes from the occupation’s governing body: the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management. This dedicated group monitors the curricula of colleges across the nation, allowing only the best to bestow the titles of RHIT, RHIA, and RHIM. Prospective students would do well to check the organization’s website, just to be sure the colleges they’re considering have been able to rise to CAHIIM’s lofty expectations.
Health Informatics Salary – Oregon
As one would expect with such an in-demand position, compensation is a pivotal issue. As of May 2009, the average annual income for a Health Informatics Technician in state of Oregon was set at $33,000 , or about $15.87 per hour. Those just getting their feet wet can expect to earn starting wages of around $12.77 per hour, totaling $26,570 per year. Experienced practitioners, however, can earn as much as $24.35 on an hourly basis, with a yearly take-home topping $50,000.
*Salary Data: Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Earnings Statistics
All members of the Health Informatics community would do well to look into joining the field’s professional organization. Known as the American Health Information Management Association (or AHIMA), this group of individuals is dedicated to bettering the lives and careers of their members. Besides their regularly updated job boards (which can help even the newest recruit land a career), they also offer frequent updates on the latest advances in medical communication and data storage. More information can be found on their website, www.ahima.org.