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All About an Online Health Informatics Degree

An online health informatics degree teaches students how to work with medical computer systems to help streamline the transfer of documents. These degrees combine healthcare and technology knowledge to create comprehensive curriculum. Students first learn about medical jargon and practices to better understand the field they are developing for. Courses could include topics such as basic anatomy and physiology.

That way, they are later able to apply this know-how to their programming. It's easier to understand courses in medical billing and healthcare organization when you have some medical lingo under your belt. This way, students could learn to create complementary computer systems to improve the transition-of-care process. If you’re ready to be a supporting player in the healthcare field, an online health informatics degree might be the perfect choice for you!

What Is a Health Information Management Degree?

A health information management degree is also known as a "health informatics degree." This degree’s curriculum mixes technology with medical practice.

First, Online Health Informatics Degree courses instruct students about the basics of the medical field. Then, students work with computer systems that are used to streamline the transfer of documents. This way, things like anatomy and basic healthcare jargon could help inform the programs that students make. For example, if you know how a doctor’s procedure is run it might influence how you design a complementary system. Below are some courses that might be offered as part of a healthcare informatics degree.

  • Healthcare Reimbursement
  • Coding and Classification Systems
  • Electronic Health Record Keeping
  • Basic Anatomy, Physiology, & Pharmacology
  • Telecommunications
  • Patient Record Keeping
  • Computer Technology

Courses may vary by program, so be sure to check with the schools.

It’s important to note that while the Online Health Informatics Degree programs on this page might offer these courses, they may look at them with varied degrees of depth. For example, an associates degree might deal with the basics of health informatics computer programming. On the other hand, a masters degree may be more of a challenge. For example, you may have to code and create new systems from scratch. Curriculum may vary from school to school. Check with each college for more information about the courses they offer.

Fun Fact

65% of American doctors use health informatics systems to request prescriptions for patients.

How to Find an Online Health Informatics Degree

You may see healthcare informatics degrees go by many names. Despite being called different things, these degrees teach similar curriculum. For example, you may find some informatics degrees that are on this list.

  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Technology
  • Healthcare Informatics
  • Medical Information Systems.

The Difference Between Degrees

While the degrees may have similar names, health informatics and information management work to help different end users.

For example, health informatics are designed to get documents in a quick and speedy way. Things like medical records may be requested by multiple departments in a healthcare setting. Health informatics ensures those documents move from one to the next both accurately and quickly.

On the other hand, heath information management focuses on how to keep records for a long time.

They ensure that medical records are held in a safe space for the life of the patient. In plain words, it makes sure that when a document is checked out, it is checked back in at some point.

In short, while these degrees may have different outcomes in mind, they require the same basic tools to make it happen!  Both informatics and information management need to be informed about computer systems to do their part.

Health Information Associate Degree Basics

For your first steps into medical telecommunication, you might want to start with an online health information associates degree.  Courses show students an introduction of how to interact with computer systems in a medical setting. This is a great chance for students to learn to use current computer systems. Course topics could include some of these healthcare informatics basics.

  • Clinical Quality Improvements
  • Basic Pharmacology, Anatomy, & Disease Prevention
  • Basic Computer Programming

Health Information Bachelor Degree Basics

Online bachelors in health informatics may cover similar topics as an associates, but more in depth.  Sometimes, associates courses even feed directly into a bachelors degree! Much like the associates, bachelors in health informatics combines medical know-how with technological studies.  But, whereas the associates only dealt with the basics, a bachelors in health informatics builds on your programming foundation.  Courses could include the following.

  • Medical Coding & Billing
  • Healthcare Documentation Databases
  • Healthcare Finances
  • Medical Ethics

Health Informatics Masters Essentials

Earning a masters in health informatics online helps students take the jump from working with computer systems to designing them. With a more in-depth look at healthcare routines and computer systems, students could learn to address medical challenges. By studying this, students could create systems to streamline the retrieval and archival of patient documents.  Courses could include the following.

  • Organizational Healthcare Issues
  • Information Management
  • Application Development
  • Cybersecurity

Health Informatics Certificate

If you have previously earned a general informatics degree, you might want to consider a graduate certificate in healthcare informatics. Building upon your already established IT knowledge, courses focus on healthcare specific material. Instead of teaching fundamental IT techniques and methods, courses are able to concentrate on how its unique healthcare applications. For example, classes may teach subjects in medical reimbursement and biomedical ethics.

Since the curriculum succinctly focuses on healthcare instead of general IT knowledge, these programs often shorter than other graduate degrees.

Online Doctorate in Health Informatics

Online doctorates in health informatics teach the skills and knowledge necessary to construct biomedical computer systems to better assist the medical community. This rigorous academic degree not only studies how to improve current systems, but also conducts research to create better ones. Additionally, these courses offer a more intense look into actual healthcare practices such as medical billing and aid.

Potential curriculum could include the following.

  • Data Structures & Algorithms
  • Human Computer Interaction
  • Database Management
  • Computer System Security
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Biostatistics
  • Biomedical Datamining

Did you know?

62% of US doctor use electronic records systems to view patient’s lab test results.

Post-Graduation Plans

Careers

Students who have earned an online health information management degrees generally pursue a career as a medical records and health information technician. These positions often draw directly from the coursework you may have studied in your degree. Topics such as computer systems and medical reimbursement might be part of their daily routine. [i]

While these career paths generally require applicants to hold an associates degree for entry-level positions, graduate coursework may enhance your chance to earn a higher-level position. [ii] Graduate coursework could show that you have more knowledge of how to build medical systems, cyber security, and other concepts that aren’t taught at the undergraduate level. But, they are necessary for enhanced positions. Between 2014 and 2024, these jobs are projected to potentially grow by up to 15%. [iii] In 2015, medical record and health information technicians earned a median salary of $37,110 a year.

Who Uses Health Informatics?

You could use your online health informatics degree in more places than just a hospital. For example, health informatics are used in the following areas.

  • Outpatient Clinics
  • Health Centers
  • Medical Research Organizations
  • Consulting Firms
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Insurance Companies
  • Government Health Agencies

When pursuing a future health informatics career, be sure to check out these fields.

Find an Online Health Informatics Degree

Are you ready to help streamline the flow of documents from point A to point B? Then a health informatics degree might be the perfect choice for you! And, you’ve come to the right place to find one. To continue your search, browse the list of schools on this page.

When you find one that looks interesting, click its link. There, you could read a short description about the degree. Or, you could click the “request info” button for more information. Good luck!


I bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm#tab-2 ii bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm#tab-4 iii bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm#tab-1

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