Healthcare News & Insights

Health Informatics Degrees

For anyone in the health care field, staying on top of technology is not only important, but vital to the continuation of providing great care and service to patients. In the fast-paced world of health care, information technology collides with the practices of medicine, and physicians, nurses and other care takers need to stay on top of all of the new technologies in order to work efficiently and to the best of their abilities. As more and more people in the health care industry realize the importance of merging these two fields, many colleges and universities have added to their curriculum to accommodate this need and ensure that our medical practitioners are able to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. As such, Health Informatics is an emerging field with a lot of potential for growth, and getting a quality education in this discipline is a sure-fire way to step into a great career.

In order to be on the “best” list, these online health informatics degrees and programs need to offer the perfect balance between coursework in information technology or computers and health care to make sure their students’ skills in both areas are sharp, have strict guidelines for admission into the program, and give students great preparation for a variety of careers after graduation.

Here are some of the “best” programs and health informatics degrees:

1. Drexel University Online – M.S. in Health Informatics
The coursework in Drexel’s health informatics program focuses on the systems of informatics and psycho-social aspects of the health care field. Students do not need to have only a health background, and in fact, the program provides students from diverse academic and professional backgrounds with the knowledge and skills to use methods, information and communication technology efficiently and to their best use in order to provide top quality health care. These lessons can be applied in many different professional settings, like medicine, nursing and public health in primary and hospital care, industry, government, and even academia. A wide variety of professional backgrounds studying together in one program makes Drexel a unique place to earn a degree in Health Informatics, and this diversity will be of great use when students are ready to begin their professional careers.

2. Grand Canyon University – M.S. in Health Care Informatics
The leaders at Grand Canyon University know how important it is to stay up-to-date in the technology field with health care. As such, they have put together a health informatics program that prepares students for success in this important and demanding field where health care and IT combine. The coursework equips professionals and leaders to integrate information technology into patient-care systems, with training in clinical operations, health care system operations, data management systems, and more. The curriculum provides the knowledge and skills needed to excel in a variety of roles, like training health care workers in the use of computer systems or automating clinical care. Students who graduate from this program will leave with the expertise to manage and improve the delivery and usefulness of health information in today’s most complex health care environments, and will be positioned to move up in their career as this industry becomes more in-demand.

3. Ashford University – B.A. Health Informatics
Students at Ashfold University will be building software, studying human, social, and organizational contexts, and learning how to apply that to their careers in the medical field with their health informatics degree. The diverse coursework allows students to examine the regulations that govern the storage and sharing of health data and analyze information’s role in health care delivery, education, and research. Students will take courses covering topics like statistics, information systems, and telecommunications, in addition to their health care classes. For admission into Ashford’s health informatics program, students must have graduated from high school or have a GED, be 22 years of age or older and have some full-time work experience, which helps to make sure that they can apply what they are learning directly to the professional workforce.

4. Saint Joseph’s University – Master of Science in Health Administration – Informatics
This Master’s degree in Health Administration is specifically designed for health care professionals in the health delivery system who want to advance their career in the management and administrative aspects of this industry. Classes feature specializations in informatics through the study of health information management systems data and infrastructure, IT networks, Internets, data interchange, data access, and data management. Students will gain expertise in information resources management, clinical care and computer programming, enabling them to become the strong and relied-upon technological and communications link between diverse health care professionals and fields.

5. Capella University – MS – Health Information Management
Electronic record keeping and patient privacy mandates have resulted in high demand for IT professionals within health care settings, and Capella University’s program was designed to specifically meet this need. This health informatics specialization offers health care-focused course work on information systems, databases, decision support, system security, strategic management, and data analysis, along with overviews of important IT and business topics. The curriculum follows the model curriculum of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and was developed to meet the requirements of the Commission on Accreditation for Health Information and Information Management (CAHIIM). It is designed to help students leverage information management and security to support efficient, accurate health care delivery and management. The typical student who chooses this specialization is often an IT professional pursuing a career in health information management or consulting positions in hospitals, clinics, and health care systems.

Admissions requirements are a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited or internationally recognized institution, undergraduate GPA of at least 2.7, and appropriate educational and professional experience to ensure that applicants can relate their studies to the real world.

6. University of Phoenix – Master of Health Administration/Health Care Informatics
The coursework for the Master of Health Administration/Health Care Informatics degree is designed to provide the needed skills and knowledge in demand by this industry to effectively respond to today’s always changing health care field. While the M.H.A. is the base of the curriculum, the Health Care Informatics concentration enables students to gain relevant experience and knowledge in the concepts like systems life cycle, health care informatics and data management. The requirements for admission into this program are more extensive than for other programs; students must have an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited university with a minimum GPA of 2.5, and at least three years of significant and relevant work experience.

7. American Sentinel University – Master of Science Nursing with a Nursing Informatics Specialization
This specialized health informatics degree at American Sentinel University is designed specifically for nurses. The program prepares experienced nurses to manage health information systems critical to the mission of health care delivery systems. During this program, nurses can expect to develop their expertise in clinical and administrative systems, data management and data mining, and information systems project management. Coursework for this specialization also emphasizes understanding the infrastructure necessary to improve practice while keeping the security and privacy of data of utmost priority. Graduated students will be prepared to assume critical roles managing health information systems in ambulatory, acute and long-term care settings, as well as the public health environment. Those enrolled in this program will need to complete 36 credit hours of course work, but they may be eligible to transfer up to 18 credit hours from previous graduate study.

8. Walden University- Post-Masters Certificate in Nursing – Nursing Informatics
For nearly everyone in the health care field, staying on top of technology is important. This is especially true for nurses, and this program at Walden University allows nurses to earn a post-Master’s certificate that allows them to use information technology to enhance important decision-making skills in various health care settings. Courses are mixed between nursing science, computer and information science, and a focus on core concepts in nursing informatics. The courses also emphasize the study of effective project management and knowledge and information management for students to implement into their careers. With this program, nurses will gain the knowledge to support decision-making processes that affect patients and practitioners and to integrate data and information within any field of the health care industry.

9. Grantham University – Master of Science Nursing – Nursing Informatics
This online M.S.N. in Nursing Informatics program has pretty strict requirements for admission – it is currently only accepting information from past or present military personnel and their families with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from an accredited nursing program, and a valid RN License. The program prepares a registered nurse with clinical expertise and added knowledge in Nursing Informatics, but also builds on baccalaureate nursing education and practice. Clinical expertise and added knowledge is developed in areas of human diversity and social issues, leadership and management, health promotion and disease prevention, and research and professional practice related to current trends and issues in today’s global society.

10. Rasmussen College – Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
While many of the programs on the “best” list are bachelor’s or master’s degrees, this degree comes in at the associate’s level to offer entry-level and beginner skills for those emerging into the world of health informatics. Students learn important medical coding skills, as well as front office procedures like handling patient accounts and records, word processing, and scheduling of patients. Many graduates of this program go on to be Health Information Technicians, a vital member of the health team who is specifically trained in the gathering, analysis, distribution, and maintenance of health care and patient-related data, and plays a vital role in the smooth running of an office.