Online MS in Health Informatics (MSHI) & Health Information Management

Health informatics professionals use information technology to help hospitals and medical workers efficiently deliver quality healthcare. A master’s degree in health informatics can help students excel in this ever-changing specialty.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare is a fast growing field. The organization anticipates an 18 percent growth in healthcare professions nationally in the decade preceding 2026, which is much higher than the average occupation in the United States.

Health informatics refers to activities involved in collecting, securely storing, and using healthcare information to help providers deliver services or care. These professionals manage information technology or serve in managerial roles. The job typically requires a mix of computer skills, information technology expertise, and specialized healthcare knowledge. As an interdisciplinary field, it also requires a healthcare management and administration background, along with technology and information science skills.

As more and more medical practices use electronic health records, informatics grow increasingly important. Patients are concerned about privacy and security when it comes to their personal information online, and medical providers rely on these records to deliver care that may save or extend patients’ lives. A skilled health informatics professional saves money and time.

A master’s degree in health informatics can prepare graduates for opportunities working for hospitals, insurance companies, primary care facilities, pharmacies, physician offices, and healthcare consulting firms. The goal is to improve the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of the healthcare industry. Degree holders accept a range of positions including healthcare IT consultants, nurse informatics, medical records technicians, chief medical information officers, clinical data analyst, and multiple senior management roles.

Universities offer several programs that build health informatics skills. Two primary degree options include a master of science in health informatics (MSHI) and a master of science in health information management (MSHIM). The two degrees are similar, but emphasize different aspects of the field. Health informatics focuses on using applied information technology to improve healthcare while health information management emphasizes using technology to store and retrieve patient data and comply with institutional and governmental regulations.

This guide highlights popular online master’s degree programs that prepare students for managerial roles in the field of health informatics. When considering a degree program, it helps to research the program’s faculty, as it is a significant indicator of the caliber and the priorities of the program.

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Professors to Know at Schools with Online MSHI Programs

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    Miriam Isola, PhD - University of Illinois

    Dr. Miriam Isola is a clinical assistant professor of biomedical and health information sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has more than 35 years of experience as a healthcare professional and her previous experience focused on epidemiology, administration, analysis and project, program management, and the implementation of automated data recording systems for healthcare organizations. She co-founded Sum-IT Health Analytics, an organization that helps healthcare organizations become data-driven. As an educator, she developed a course on transforming healthcare using business intelligence and predictive analysis and is currently researching the development and strategic use of analytical tools in the medical field. She earned her doctor of public health degree at the University of Illinois, her master’s of public administration (MPA) from Roosevelt University and her bachelor's from Valparaiso University.

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    Victoria M. N. Wangia-Anderson, PhD - University of Cincinnati

    Dr. Victoria Wangia-Anderson is the program director of health informatics at the University of Cincinnati. She developed the curriculum for the school's new master's of health informatics program and currently teaches several of the program's courses. She also manages student recruitment, application, admission, orientation and advising for the program. Previously, Dr. Wangia-Anderson was a research assistant professor and coordinator at the University of Kansas Medical Center and an informatics fellow at the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As a leader in the field, she is involved in health policy initiatives with the goal of engaging patients and clinicians in the use of health information technology and is a reviewer for the International Journal of Medical Informatics. Dr. Wangia-Anderson earned her doctorate in health informatics from the University of Minnesota, her master's in information science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her bachelor's in biology from Earlham College, Richmond.

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    Margarete Zalon, PhD - University of Scranton

    Dr. Margarete Zalon is the director of the graduate health informatics program at the University of Scranton. Her area of expertise is in adult and gerontological nursing, and she teaches adult health nursing at the undergraduate and graduate level, professional issues for registered nurses returning to school, and nursing research for graduate and doctoral students. Outside of her award-winning professorial duties, she is also an adult clinical nurse specialist. She published articles in many journals, and she wrote an instructional book for nurses to help them develop health policy and patient advocacy skills. Dr. Zalon earned both her doctoral and master's degrees in nursing at New York University and her bachelor's degree from Duke University.

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