A medical information officer develops plans for implementing information technology in clinical settings. This includes patient care environments like hospitals and clinics as well as research labs and facilities used for clinical trials. Integrating technology can make research and medical practice more efficient and effective, when the technology complements the goals and working styles of the organization. Careers in this field typically require a medical degree and experience as a doctor, as well as a knowledge of health informatics, information technology, and common systems in use across the industry.
Facilities without integrated technology or with poorly implemented technology can use a medical information officer to develop a plan that will help streamline operations. The officer can interview employees, survey existing systems, and collect other data to find out what the organization needs and how it is currently meeting those needs. This process can involve paying especially close attention to areas where simple technology could result in cost or time savings, like better records transfers so offices don’t have to pass around hard copies of files as patients see different care providers.
The medical information officer can use this information to develop a strategy which may include a mixture of systems, including custom systems. During the next phase, employees and staff are provided with information they need to use the technology effectively, and small tweaks can be integrated as the system is seen in action. This blends useful traits of information technology with the practice of medicine so care providers and researchers can focus on results, backed by technology to support their activities. Clinics may find it easier to implement evidence-based medicine, for example, with a system that helps medical providers find the information they need.
Companies interested in selling information technology products and services to a facility can meet with the medical information officer to discuss their offerings. These may offer a way of performing a task more efficiently and effectively, in which case the facility’s representative might consider integrating them into the larger plan. Such meetings can also provide an opportunity to discuss custom software and hardware, maintenance packages, and other benefits the facility might want in a product.
This job can involve travel between different facilities as well as conferences and other events where information about new systems and technology may be available. Pay and benefits can depend on experience, employer, and region. Continuing education is also an important part of the job, as the medical information officer needs to keep up with advances in medicine, bioinformatics, and information technology.