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

Health informatics and health information management professionals use technology to help hospitals and medical workers deliver quality healthcare efficiently. With a master’s degree in health informatics, graduates can excel in this non-patient-facing IT-based healthcare career.

Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing sectors, with an estimated 2.6 million new jobs in demand in the coming decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), openings in healthcare careers will increase 16 percent between 2022 and 2032, a rate nearly four times as high as the current 3 percent growth rate for all occupations in the United States.

While this occupational category includes patient-facing roles ranging from medical records specialists, physical therapists, nurses, and physicians, the explosive growth of this field equates to an increase in information technology (IT) services to support patients and professionals in healthcare settings.

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 and technology and information science skills. The BLS does not track specific occupational data for IT healthcare management but does show the general field of computer and information systems managers positions will increase by 15 percent in the coming decade, adding 86,000 new jobs (BLS 2023).

As more and more medical practices use electronic health records, the field of informatics becomes increasingly essential. Patients are concerned about privacy and security regarding their personal information online, and medical providers rely on these records to deliver care that may save or extend patients’ lives. In these ways, skilled health informatics professionals save people and organizations 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. To improve the healthcare industry’s safety, efficiency, and effectiveness, healthcare informatics degree holders accept a range of healthcare IT positions. Examples include healthcare IT consultants, nurse informatics, medical records technicians, chief medical information officers, clinical data analysts, and multiple senior management roles.

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

This guide highlights reputable and accredited online master’s degree programs that prepare students for managerial roles in health informatics. In addition, four faculty members of these schools are profiled to showcase some of the programs’ academic caliber and professional features.

Professors to Know at Schools with Online MSHI Programs

  • Miriam Isola, PhD - University of Illinois at Chicago

    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. 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, which helps healthcare organizations become data-driven.

    As an educator, Dr. Isola 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.

  • 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, Dr. Wangia-Anderson 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.

  • Janusz Wojtusiak, PhD - George Mason University

    Dr. Janusz Wojtusiak is an associate professor of health informatics and the director of the Machine Learning and Inference Laboratory at George Mason University. His research expertise includes machine learning, health informatics, artificial intelligence in clinical decision support and knowledge discovery in medical data, and several others. His professional emphasis is developing algorithms to predict patient and population outcomes.

    Dr. Wojtusiak advises undergraduates, masters, and doctoral students in health informatics. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 research publications and presentations and teaches courses on machine learning, data mining, artificial intelligence, and computing applied in medicine.

  • 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. 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.

    In addition, 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.

Rachel Drummond, MEd
Rachel Drummond, MEd

As a contributor on MHAOnline, Rachel Drummond has brought her expertise in education and mindfulness to the healthcare management field since 2019. She writes about integrating innovation into healthcare administration, emphasizing the importance of mental and physical well-being for effective leadership and decision-making in the fast-paced world of healthcare management.

Rachel is a writer, educator, and coach from Oregon. She has a master’s degree in education (MEd) and has over 15 years of experience teaching English, public speaking, and mindfulness to international audiences in the United States, Japan, and Spain. She writes about the mind-body benefits of contemplative movement practices like yoga on her blog, inviting people to prioritize their unique version of well-being and empowering everyone to live healthier and more balanced lives.

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