Master’s in Health Informatics Program Guide
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A master's in health informatics prepares you for specialized and supervisory roles. For example, you may work as a software developer, creating programs that allow doctors and nurses to more easily share patient information. Or you may apply your expertise in data analysis to a healthcare leadership role as a medical or health service manager.
Most graduate programs in health informatics consist of about 30 credits and require roughly two years of full-time study. They typically offer advanced instruction in subjects such as information systems analysis and design, information assurance, and healthcare business practice.
This page provides a detailed overview of healthcare informatics degrees, as well as information on career paths you can follow after graduation.
What Is Health Informatics?
Health informatics is the application of information engineering to the field of healthcare. For example, a health informatics professional may act as a clinical researcher, mining patient data to uncover the cause of a particular disease and inform approaches to treatment. They may also work as database administrators, securing or streamlining access to medical records.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment in healthcare will increase by 14% from 2018 to 2028, more than twice as fast as the rate of growth for the economy as a whole. The BLS also projects that employment in computer and information technology occupations will grow by 12% during that same period. Health informatics professionals operate at the intersection of these two rapidly growing fields.
An increased demand for individuals with knowledge of health information technology should also lead to higher salaries. In 2018, for example, medical and health services managers earned a median salary of $99,730, roughly $61,000 more than the median pay for all other jobs.
Our ranking of the nation's top online master's programs in health informatics provides the information you need to decide where to earn your advanced degree.
What You Can Do With a Master's in Health Informatics
A master's in health informatics prepares graduates for jobs in management and administration. Many students pursue careers in health information management, information security, and consulting. Graduates interested in overseeing staff and implementing information management programs may obtain administrator positions in hospitals or private practice. Read below for a few career possibilities.
Healthcare administrators plan, implement, and direct healthcare services. They frequently manage staff and provide legal and ethical oversight. Health information managers are responsible for the security and accuracy of patient records; they usually begin as technicians before pursuing a master's degree.
Median Annual Salary: $99,730*
Information systems (IT) managers plan, coordinate, and direct the management and implementation of information systems. Healthcare IT managers are responsible for information systems in hospitals, clinics, and insurance companies. They may oversee system security and ensure the accessibility of information. Master's graduates are very competitive for this technical occupation.
Median Annual Salary: $142,530*
Management analysts typically work as consultants to propose improvements for companies. Healthcare consultants work with hospitals and other healthcare providers to analyze procedures and develop recommendations to improve efficiency. They may review information systems and how data is collected and reported. Consultants with an advanced degree demonstrate knowledge in the field.
Median Annual Salary: $83,610*
Clinical informatics managers organize, analyze, and oversee access to patient data and other medical information. Most work in hospitals and health clinics, collaborating closely with healthcare practitioners and information technology professionals. Most of these roles require at least a bachelor's degree, though larger organizations may prefer to hire candidates with a master's.
Median Annual Salary: $90,590*
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale
Health informatics graduates enjoy exceptional job prospects in both healthcare and information technology. Check out our career guide to learn more about professional opportunities for health informatics majors.
Concentrations Offered for a Master's Degree in Health Informatics
Courses in a Master's in Health Informatics Program
While all accredited programs must meet general guidelines for core coursework, course specifics vary by institution. Programs also offer a variety of electives that further diversify a student's education.
Privacy and security concerns are crucial to the maintenance of health records, and are reinforced by federal and state laws. Health information must be maintained confidentially and systems must take strict security measures. Coursework reviews policies and regulations while preparing students to manage electronic health records in many settings.
Project management builds applied leadership skills to contribute to organizational change. Students learn about the challenges of research and information governance and the impact of technology on healthcare. Students develop communication and critical-thinking skills.
Students learn about health information systems and their application in healthcare settings. Students work with electronic health records and develop statistical decision support systems and system architecture that contributes to efficient workflow. Coursework prepares students as system developers and health informatics administrators.
Understanding the theory and applications of organizational behavior is essential for effective leadership. Coursework explores best practices to manage and lead healthcare organizations. Students graduate with an understanding of what drives behavior in the workplace and are prepared for careers in administration and management.
Healthcare research is an interdisciplinary field. Coursework includes policy, management, and program evaluation in healthcare services. Topics in research design, cost efficiency, data analysis systems, and cost-benefit analysis prepare students for careers in health insurance, economics, and finance.
Interview With Carlos Fillmann
Carlos Fillmann grew up in Novo Hamburgo, Brazil, and earned his undergraduate degree in biology from the State University of New York-Oswego before deciding to pursue his two passions: healthcare and information technology. In 2018, he graduated with his master of science in health informatics from Logan University near St. Louis, where he learned to use technology to improve patient care and healthcare business practices. Carlos currently works as a telehealth technician with Finger Lakes Community Health in upstate New York, which provides care to the region's agricultural workers.
I chose to earn a master's in health informatics because it allows me to utilize information technology to increase quality of care. I started my career in healthcare working with telehealth, and every day I get to use information technology to connect patients with providers they would normally not have access to.
Upon completing my master's degree in health informatics, I felt very prepared to transition from school to the workplace. Logan University supported me every step of the way and did not stop once the degree was completed.
Through the master's program, I acquired leadership, project management, and healthcare systems skills that I now use daily.
Work brings new challenges every day, and I always look forward to them. I work with patients who live in rural areas and do not have easy access to healthcare. One of the challenges I face every day is ensuring these patients have successful and effective telehealth appointments. Additionally, I am constantly looking for new and better ways to increase the quality of care and bridge gaps in care through telehealth.
Telehealth is constantly evolving. Since I started working in the field, I have been involved in many different implementations, allowing me to apply what I learned at Logan University immediately. The advancements in technology, combined with the communities who still have limited access to healthcare, makes telehealth a field with great potential.
Technology plays a critical role in the delivery [of] quality patient care. If you enjoy technology and have a passion for helping people, consider a career path toward health informatics. The healthcare landscape is growing and evolving at a rapid pace; this field provides many opportunities for those who choose to be leaders in healthcare.
How to Choose a Master's in Health Informatics Program
Due to rising demand, more and more colleges and universities now offer master's degrees in health informatics. To help you choose a program, we have compiled a list of the five most important considerations for prospective students.
Master's in Health Informatics Program Admissions
Admission requirements can vary considerably across programs. For example, some schools may require graduate applicants to take the GRE, while others admit students based solely on their undergraduate academic performance. Below is an overview of the most common prerequisites for health informatics programs.
How to Apply
You should start applying to graduate school at least one year before you plan to take your first class. For example, students who hope to enroll in the fall semester usually need to submit all of their materials by a December or January admission deadline.
First, schedule a time to take the GRE, if required by your program. Ideally, you would give yourself at least one month to study and sufficient time to retake the exam if needed. As you prepare for the test, reach out to potential recommenders, update your resume, request copies of your transcripts, and begin outlining your personal statement.
Try to finish your application at least two weeks in advance of the deadline. This allows you to find missing materials or troubleshoot any technical issues that might arise.
Even before receiving an admission decision, you can begin the process of applying for financial assistance by completing the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA opens each year on October 1.
Resources for Master's in Health Informatics Students
Federal Student Aid
Although graduate students do not qualify for all of the same types of financial aid as undergraduate students, they can still receive certain grants, work-study positions, and low-interest student loans from the U.S. Department of Education. The department's website also offers advice on identifying and applying for private scholarships.
Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education
CAHIIM serves as an accrediting agency for undergraduate and graduate programs in health informatics and related fields. Prospective students can search an online directory of programs by degree level, location, and delivery method. The organization also hosts guides for students on topics like applying for financial aid and transferring credits between institutions.
American Medical Informatics Association
AMIA represents approximately 5,600 health informatics professionals working in clinical care, education, research, and policy. In addition to organizing a series of networking events and research conferences, the association publishes multiple scholarly journals, provides online professional development opportunities to its members, and advertises nationwide job openings through its career center.
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
HIMSS aims to transform the delivery of healthcare through information and technology. Health informatics students and professionals alike can benefit from the society's online resource library, which includes research briefs and policy guides on topics like data storage, health business solutions, and patient engagement portals. HIMSS also awards scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students.
American Health Information Management Association
Founded in 1928, AHIMA now represents more than 100,000 health information professionals around the globe. Members can apply for professional certification in multiple areas, participate in training programs on data analytics and information security, and attend virtual and in-person networking events. AHIMA's student and career center also provides an overview of the field, advice on planning your education, and free tools for career preparation.
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