Learn as much as you can about data analytics, statistical research, and health informatics as possible. Take classes in these areas, read books about health informatics, and talk to informatics professionals about their careers. Participating in part-time jobs, volunteer opportunities, and internships that involve data analysis (especially at health care employers) will provide you with excellent hands-on experience.
The American Medical Informatics Association offers an Annual Symposium for High School Scholars who are interested in health informatics. Students who have participated in educational or research activities at biomedical informatics programs can submit presentations and abstracts for consideration in the High School Scholars Program and Competition. Students also participate in educational activities and networking events as part of the program. Visit https://amia.org/education-events/amia-2021-annual-symposium/high-school-scholars to learn more about the symposium.
At its most basic level, health informaticists use information technology to collect, organize, and analyze data to improve health care outcomes. But work duties for people in this relatively new profession vary greatly based on one’s educational background, the needs of the employer, and other factors. For example, health informaticists with a strong background in programming design, implement, and evaluate health information technology applications, tools, processes, or structures to help their employers more effectively manage data. Informaticists with a background in health care study and interpret data to provide answers to questions regarding patient care, hospital operations, or the progress of efforts to halt the spread of an infectious disease in a community. Some health informaticists teach clinicians (doctors, nurses, etc.) how to use health informatics technology and access and analyze data. They prepare operating manuals and serve as tech support resources for health care workers. Other informaticists assist in the development of standards and regulations that govern the collection and use of patient data or other medical data. Some experienced health informaticists choose to become consultants to hospitals, medical offices, and other health care organizations, while others pursue teaching opportunities at colleges and universities. Finally, some health informaticists specialize in the design and development of wearable medical technology that continuously collects data from patients to better understand a particular medical condition or monitor their overall health, while others use artificial intelligence (especially machine learning and natural language processing) to extract value from “unstructured” health data.