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Online Masters in Health Informatics

When you earn an online masters in health informatics, you take your first step toward learning how to construct computer systems to better serve healthcare industries. Courses in this degree program combine medical topics with computer sciences to create a balanced curriculum.

Classes could include subjects such as medical ethics and anatomy as well as cyber security and communications. This combination could allow students to develop computer systems targeting healthcare’s unique pain points. Thereby, potentially improving the day-to-day experience of medical professionals and patients alike.  

Online Health Informatics Masters Essentials

Online masters in health informatics courses educate students on how to create computer systems to improve communication between medical personnel. This could include streamlining systems that work with transferring patient records, bill reimbursement, and emergency services to name a few.

To attain this goal, degrees balance technology and basic medical courses so that students could understand the systems they’re working with and who is using them. For example, students may encounter some of the following courses in their health informatics masters.  

  • Organizational Healthcare Issues
  • Information Management
  • Application Development
  • Telecommunications
  • Patient Record Keeping
  • Computer Technology
  • Cybersecurity

In addition, these courses may also have students work with general IT and basic coding practices to further flesh out their technology experience.  Courses may differ by institution. Check with your intended university for detailed curriculum information to be sure they have what you need.

At this point, you may be asking yourself how a masters in health informatics differs from undergraduate courses. While you may have learned about computer systems in a bachelors or associates degree, you may have not learned how to create new ones. Masters courses task students with creating new, innovative systems to better serve the medical community. 

Masters in Health Informatics Degrees

When researching potential degrees, you may find that health informatics masters programs are typically offered as a master of science. This is due it’s high reliance on technology and medical learning as opposed to liberal arts and humanities. But, sometimes this degree could be called a different name. During your research, keep on the lookout for some of the following informatics related degree names.

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management (HIM)
  • Health Information Technology (HIT)
  • Electronic Medical Record Keeping

Additionally, some schools may not offer a specific health informatics concentration. In these cases, schools may offer a “health informatics specialization” in addition to their informatics degrees.

While these degrees have different names, they each cover similar curriculum. For example, each program may still teach computer systems, basic medical terms, and program development. Where they differ, though, is who they design their systems for.

Serving an Audience

As mentioned above, these masters programs may be called health informatics or health information. Sometimes, these titles are used interchangeably to describes service to improve medical communication. And, while they do cover near-identical course topics, they begin to differ in their application. That is, their goal is to benefit a certain user in the healthcare field.

For instance, health informatics deals primarily with streamlining a doctor’s day-to-day routine. This degree designs systems to ensure patient’s documents are easily accessible quickly and accurately. Some of the processes students could work with include the following.

  • Lab Tests
  • Emergency Service Care
  • Specialist Referrals

By improving these transition-of-care systems, doctors could see to patients’ needs faster.

Health information management (HIM) on the other hand, deals with long term retention. HIM ensures that documents are stored correctly and securely throughout a patient’s life. This way, patients could access and provide documents even if they change providers or move.

Sound similar? Because they are! Both programs use similar IT methods to accomplish their goals. But, just think of it like this. Health informatics handles quick, patient data checks. HIM deals with making sure that data stays with that patient. They’re complementary systems, so learning about both in your masters program could be a great opportunity.

Admissions Criteria

Being a graduate degree, schools aim to assess previous IT experience as well as academic abilities. Students are typically required to submit a 2.8 to 3.0 undergraduate GPA in addition to GRE scores. Some schools request students to hold their bachelor’s degree in a related IT field. Admissions details may vary by institution. Check with potentials schools for more information about their admissions process.  

Program Length

Health informatics masters degrees are average length programs. Students could potentially earn a masters in health information management after earning 45 credits. This could take students around 2 years to complete.

Continuing Education

After earning your masters in health informatics, you could decide to further your graduate education. For starters, students could choose to flesh out their health informatics degree with a graduate certificate. This could be a great way to gain knowledge in an additional informatics field like nursing. Additionally, these programs are often condensed and take around 1 year to complete. This means it could be a quick way to expand your HIM knowledge. Check out some potential certificate programs below.

  • Graduate Certificate in Health Informatics
  • Post-Bachelor’s Certificate in Biotechnology Enterprise

Or, others may choose to pursue a doctorate in health informatics. These intense degrees focus on cutting edge informatics technology. Much like a masters degree, they also work to create new systems to better support medical staff and patients alike. Typically, doctoral degrees are offered as a PhD in Health Informatics.

For more information about graduate certificate and doctoral degrees, check out the certificate in health informatics and doctorate in health informatics pages.

Future Careers with an Online Masters in Health Informatics

After you earn an online masters in health informatics, you could be prepared for a career as a medical record or health information technician.i While these positions typically require an associates degree for entry-level positions, employers often look to candidates who have earned a masters for managerial positions. This is because the masters coursework deals with advanced informatics concepts such as healthcare ethics and information security. 

Potential Salary

Students might even be able to create their own systems at this point! Which could be great for medical centers looking to refine their digital infrastructure. The amount of these available positions are projected to increase by 15% from 2014 to 2024.Medical record and health information technicians could potentially earn a median salary of $37,110 a year.

Where Might I Work?

But, this skill set could be applied in more places than the typical hospital setting. The following areas use health informatics in their daily routines.

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

Find an Online Masters in Health Informatics

Are you ready to log into the digital world of healthcare communications? Great! To continue your search for a perfect online masters in health informatics, browse the list of programs on this page. For more information about a particular school, click its associated link. There, you could read a short description about that potential program. While you’re there, click the “request info” button to receive more information. This could include helpful info such as admission deadlines, curriculum, and program length. Good luck finding a perfect online health informatics masters!


i https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm#tab-1

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