Masters in Health Informatics
A masters in health informatics program aims to cover the many aspects of IT communications and data management within the healthcare field, sometimes called health information technology (HIT). Some programs focus on the creation and improvement of IT systems to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
These systems could play a role in many day-to-day medical practices. For example, they may be used to request a prescription, file a lab test, or simply store patient information. In short, a masters in health informatics could explore the many ways to ensure data is transferred quickly and easily to improve patient care.
Potential Health Informatics Masters Curriculum
Courses review a combination of IT basics, medical fundamentals, and current healthcare technology to help students reduce mistakes when transferring important medical documents. To help prepare students, masters in health informatics courses often cover fundamental medical practices and jargon, as well as more advanced IT topics. This way, when students begin to create computer programs, they could design intuitive and complementary systems. Sample courses you might take include the following.
- Organizational Healthcare Issues
- Information Management
- Application Development
- Patient Record Keeping
- Computer Technology
Students may also be able to take electives and focus on some of the concentration areas below. Considering this curriculum, students could earn a health informatics masters degree in 2 years of fulltime study. This translates to a median of 45 credit hours. Program length and curriculum vary by institution. Check with potential programs for more information.
In addition to core health informatics masters coursework, students may be able to concentrate their studies in a particular medical industry. These focused courses might address unique obstacles that different sectors of the healthcare field encounter. You may wish to concentrate on one of the following areas. Keep in mind, these are only a few ways to further develop your health informatics education. Check with potential programs for more information about concentrations.
Nursing Informatics (NI)
Nursing informatics courses aim to prepare students to support nursing staff with streamlined computer systems. These classes cover how to improve communications between nurses and other departments and branches within the healthcare system. This way, nurses may be able to better perform their job and improve patients’ stays. Courses in this concentration could include nursing science and nurse computer literacy.
Unlike other types of informatics which focus on improving the transfer of documents, pharmacy informatics helps decode and understand other healthcare documents. Prescriptions and medical records may need to be accessed before fulfilling a medical script. To do this, pharmacist must first translate codes used by the healthcare provider. Doing this accurately could ensure patients safely take the appropriate medicine. To help teach how to create translation systems, courses may include topics in data acquisition, basic pharmacology, and medication automation systems.
Like pharmacy informatics, dental informatics systems need to receive and understand patient details to improve patient care. Since this is a relatively new field, much of its computer systems are still developing. This could be a great learning opportunity for students to witness how standard healthcare codes are created and implemented! Courses in this concentration may cover basic dentistry administration, dental imaging standards, and federal dental regulations.
Masters in Health Informatics Internships
In addition to coursework, many masters in health informatics programs have students enter the field for a short period before graduation to gain hands on experience. This may be done either as part of an internship or with field work. During this time, students could have the chance to work with real-world healthcare informatics systems. And, they might even get to witness how certain IT decisions affect patients, doctors, and other healthcare workers. Internship and field work programs differ by school. Be sure to speak with yours for more information.
Types of Masters in Health Informatics Programs
Health informatics masters degrees are typically offered as a master of science (MS), a more technically focused degree. This is because of the subject’s heavy reliance on computer sciences and data analytics. While most masters in health informatics use “health informatics” as a general term to describe IT in the healthcare field, you may find similar programs under other names. Where they differ is in who uses the completed programs.
In addition, some programs may not offer a specific health informatics degree. In these instances, schools may offer an IT degree with a health informatics focus. These programs are a great choice if you want to focus more heavily on general IT studies, but also flesh out your knowledge with medical terminology.
When considering a health informatics masters program, keep your eye out for some of the following degree options.
Health Informatics or Health Information Technology (HIT)
Masters in health informatics, also known as health information technology (HIT), programs examine how to build new software and hardware systems to manage healthcare and patient data. In addition to covering the creation of computer systems, classes may also engage with other subjects to round out your IT knowledge. Topics could include cyber security, data retention, and computer interoperations.
Health Information Management (HIM)
Masters in health information management (HIM) programs focus on building a bridge between medical record keepers and the healthcare system at large. Not only do courses instruct how to retain medical data for the lifetime of a patient but also how to standardize it’s medical coding. This way, the records are easily read by a multitude of healthcare providers. Courses could include coding and billing standardization, regulatory requirements, and electronic medical records keeping.
Applying to Health Informatics Masters Programs
Applications for masters in health informatics aim to assess both your previous IT experience and academic standing. While IT experience doesn’t necessarily need to be healthcare related, you might have to demonstrate you have worked with some computer systems. Schools may ask students to supply a technical portfolio or transcripts from a related bachelor’s degree. In addition, students may be required to submit a 2.8 to 3.0 undergraduate GPA, as well as GRE test scores. Requirements vary by school so be sure to check with your intended program for more details.
Choosing a Health Informatics Masters Program: Online vs On Campus
To make health informatics masters programs available to a wide range of students, schools may offer courses in a variety of formats. Depending on your current lifestyle, you might want to consider one of the following options.
Health Informatics Masters Schools
On campus programs are a great way to work alongside professors and peers in a traditional classroom setting. If you prefer face-to-face interactions, this may be the program for you. Additionally, many schools require professors to hold office hours. This could be a chance to ask your professors about their own experiences or ask clarifying questions. They may be able to provide specific professional insight that a career center might not have!
Online Masters in Health Informatics
As a large portion of the masters in health informatics curriculum takes place digitally, it may be easily transferrable to the online format. Programs could still provide access to the same classes and technology as on campus. However, you could develop your skills and knowledge from the comfort of your own home. And on your own schedule.
It should be noted that while the majority of the online curriculum could be completed remotely, many programs require an internship or field work experience. These programs may require students to temporarily live on campus or visit local healthcare centers. Requirements may vary by institution.
Find a Perfect Health Informatics Masters Program
If you’re ready to learn to improve communications between healthcare systems and patients, then you may be ready to pursue a health informatics masters degree! To continue your search for a perfect program, browse the list of programs on this page. To refine this list, select your preferred program type from the menus on this page. Good luck finding a perfect masters in health informatics!
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Schools with Masters in Health Informatics
GradSchools.com offers 92 Masters in Health Informatics
Grand Canyon University
Southern New Hampshire University
Loyola University Chicago
California State University, Northridge
Purdue University Global
University of the Sciences
Liberty University Online
North Carolina State University
University At Albany (S.U.N.Y.)
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Nova Southeastern University