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

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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 2020 and 2030, a rate twice as high as the current 8 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 11 percent in the coming decade, adding 52,700 new jobs (BLS 2021).

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.

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