As the healthcare industry explodes with opportunities, career options are grwoing beyond the realms of direct patient care and research. Health informatics master’s degree programs are opening doors for those with a passion for computers and information management.
Health informatics is a specialty area in the IT world that has its practitioners working to better manage healthcare costs by cutting out unnecessary medical expenses, such as redundant tests, while striving to improve patient care. It is the science of storing, acquiring and retrieving healthcare and patient data to promote collaboration among patients’ healthcare providers.
The demand for health informatics specialists is on the rise as many healthcare providers search out IT experts who can assist them in complying with new government mandates, according to the American Medical Informatics Association.
As the government readies to penalize Medicare and Medicaid providers who aren’t using informatics principles in their practices, demand is growing.
PricewaterhouseCoopers conducted a study in February 2012 that concluded an estimated 70% of health insurers, 48% of hospitals and 39% of pharmaceutical companies planned to increase hiring of those with health informatics credentials.
Health informatics is an IT degree that’s slanted toward the medical profession. With that in mind, students learn a variety of topics both technical and medical. Some areas of study in a master’s of health informatics cirriculum include:
- Database management using structured query language
- How to develop and assess tools used to represent medical data
- How to assess the functions, opportunities and limitations of information technology in a healthcare environment
- Laws and regulations related to managing patient information
- Medical language and classification systems
Those interested in pursuing a master’s degree or certificate in health informatics should ensure the university they choose is accredited. Some accredited programs include:
University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine
This program, the only 100% health informatics program offered by an accredited medical school, provides students with the opportunity to earn a master’s degree or certificate in health informatics. It offers an opportunity for students to learn 100% online through video-based lectures and an interactive virtual community, so pursuing the degree doesn’t interfere with an already busy schedule. A graduate certificate from this school involves 12 credit hours at a cost of $10,980. The master’s degree requires 32 credits and has an estimated cost of $29,280.
With USF’s Health Informatics Master’s Degree program, you can add post-baccalaureate credentials to your resume that can help you launch or advance your healthcare career in this high-demand field on your terms.
This school offers a master’s degree in health informatics at its Minneapolis, Minnesota, campus, or online. Tuition and fees for the full program run an estimated $27,540, not including supplies and books.
Southern New Hampshire University
This program is offered online and on campus as a specialty branch of the university’s master’s in information technology educational track. The cost per credit hour is $320.
University of Illinois at Chicago
This school offers master’s in informatics, post-master’s certifications and bachelor’s level health information management degrees. The cost per credit hour is $735 with a total program cost ranging from $33,075 to $36,015. Classes are offered both on campus and online.
With a campus that’s strictly online, this school has developed its master’s in health informatics degree as an interdisciplinary program. It receives curriculum support for the school’s college of nursing and health professions. The tuition per credit is $1,123.
With demand on the rise, the field of health informatics takes the IT profession to a whole new level. Training in this field is well suited for those who already have a medical or IT background and desire to advance their careers with new credentials.