Health informatics is a new field of study involving the use of information technology devices for computing and communication in medicine. Students of informatics learn how to design systems that support the operation of different medical environments (for example, a hospital, research laboratory, or doctor s office) and how to store and utilize the vast amount of medical data that s now kept on every patient contact.
The goal is to translate everything currently existing on paper (nurses notes, hospital charts, test results) to digital form so it can be accessed and added to by every facility that treats a particular patient. Information systems will be used to deliver improved medical care and help both patients and caregivers make informed decisions about diagnoses and treatments.
Some medical schools will schedule part of your training in the school s own developing biomedical data bank, which is an excellent opportunity to make an important contribution and further your future career. Health informatics is a relatively new discipline and there is much seminal work being done today, which gives you a better chance to make your name in the field.
The Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communication at the National Library of Medicine has a postdoctoral fellowship program open to graduate and medical students called the Clinical Informatics Postdoctoral Fellowships. Applicants must have medical degrees or doctorates in medical informatics, and those who are accepted will work in existing research projects in areas like developing standards for digitizing medical records and processing natural language or images.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sponsors the Public Health Informatics Fellowship Program. which lasts two years and trains students who have either medical or masters-level degrees in health informatics to solve problems in public health using information systems. You should have research experience as well as experience in the fields of public health and informatics.
If accepted, you ll work primarily at the CDC and also be required to travel.
The following are some of the many forms of financial aid available to those who want to study health informatics. Most medical schools offer this type of assistance to their students. If you re interested in a fellowship that begins when you graduate, there is a long list of schools that provide such fellowships here .
The Department of Health Management and Informatics at the University of Missouri has a number of options for students seeking scholarship funding. Here are three of them:
Indiana University (Bloomington) s School of Informatics and Computing hands out three scholarships. and here are brief descriptions:
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), which has numerous chapters all over the country, offers two student scholarships. and its chapters underwrite others. These are the two categories of HIMSS awards:
There is a linked list of the chapter scholarships included on the HIMSS scholarship page.