The Healthcare industry is one of the most vital fields in the world. And with the advent of technology, healthcare has rapidly transformed and is currently using high tech methods. The combination of healthcare and information technology is one of the fastest-growing fields in the world. Health informatics professionals analyze medical records to improve the services and outcomes in healthcare. A Masters in Health Informatics online delivers advanced theory and training in devices, resources, and storage methods to store, organize and retrieve information. Students learn the fundamentals of health care, information technology, management, and it also allows students to select a specialization. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the health informatics employment field is expected to grow by 8 percent for 2018-2028, thereby creating 341,600 new openings. The Master’s in Health Informatics Online is a program ideally suited for people who wish to advance their role or career in IT with a specialty in the healthcare industry. This guide will shed light on all aspects of Online Masters in health informatics programs.
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Deciding to pursue an online Master’s in Health Informatics degree is a great step forward. But the real task starts when it comes to selecting the best informatics program. Because of the abundance of available online masters in health informatics programs, students often wonder about the best programs. To students get a running start, we ranked the best health informatics master’s programs online based on program quality, accreditation, tuition, graduation rates, faculty reputation, and many other parameters. Here is the list of the best health informatics programs online:
Higher education keeps getting more expensive every year. According to Forbes, college tuition has skyrocketed by 497% percent since 1986. In many, this holds for masters programs and online masters programs as well. Given the high demand for Master’s in health informatics programs, students can expect to see very expensive tuition fees. But students do not need to sacrifice a quality education for affordability. We have researched and created a list of the most affordable online masters in health informatics programs. These programs also maintain high quality and are accredited. Here is the list of the most affordable online masters in health informatics programs:
Understanding Masters in Health Informatics Programs
Earning a master’s degree in health informatics enables students to understand the various methods of information technology, tools, systems, application, and how to apply all of those in the health care industry. But, given the depth of these programs, there is a lot more to Masters in health informatics programs. Digging deep into a Master’s in Health Informatics, this section covers everything students need to know about the programs.
Online Masters in Health Informatics Degree Types
Many universities offer healthcare Informatics degrees. Several universities offer these programs at the undergraduate level too. At a graduate level, these programs are offered as specializations within other programs. While the Master’s program degree type might be different across different universities, the masters in Health Informatics programs are offered as two types of degrees:
MS in Health Informatics
Master of Science (MS) in Health Informatics is the main degree type and widely available. While pursuing an MS in health informatics, students develop a deep understanding of gathering meaningful data and information about health analytics, converting them into a solution to business problems in healthcare using information technology. Students also develop tools and systems to improve healthcare delivery systems in fields such as biomedical research.
MBA Health Informatics
Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Health Informatics will prepare students to take up leadership roles in the healthcare industry. Students are trained to create & use innovative technology and form a data-driven analysis on public health statistics, performance evaluations, budgetary issues, management, and finance. In the MBA Health Informatics programs, students focus on business aspects of healthcare and information technology, including leadership, management, marketing, and the healthcare industry’s financial aspects. The main difference between an MS in Health Informatics and an MBA in Health Informatics focuses on business, management, and leadership aspects in MBA programs. Whereas an MS program mainly focuses on the science and technology aspects of this field.
Specializations in Masters in Health Informatics Programs
The Healthcare industry is huge, and information technology is also huge. When we combine healthcare and information technology, the health informatics subject becomes a massive field. And it produces many specializations, concentrations, and branches. Masters in Health Informatics is a program that allows you to pursue your masters in the field of your interest through specializations. While there are a lot of branches to this field, below is a list of the main specializations that most students pursue:
Masters in Healthcare Analytics is a specialization that focuses on processes and technologies that manage, measure, and analyze healthcare data that might include patient records.
Masters in Health Information Technology (IT) is a specialization that evolves the creation, development, design, maintenance, and use of IT for the healthcare industry.
Medical Informatics graduate programs examine the physician-patient relationship. This specialization focuses on IT, using technology to develop medical knowledge and deliver effective medical care.
Clinical Informatics is a specialization which deals with the study of IT and its application in the field of healthcare in a wide range of practice settings.
Master in Informatics Engineering focuses on computational engineering and information engineering. It informs students about developing systems and software for occupational and clinical health, addressing operations and patient engagement.
Biomedical Informatics online degree is a specialization in the studies of effective use of biomedical information, data, knowledge for scientific problem-solving inquiry, and decision making with a motivated effort to improve patient health.
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Health Informatics Programs
Health Informatics is a complex and complicated field. And it is essential for students to understand the curriculum, coursework fully, and skills they will learn before stepping into masters in health informatics programs. While it may be tempting to sign up for these programs, it is also important to understand that these online health IT courses are a niche area, and the courses might be a little tough for students from a non-technology background. In this section, we will provide details about what students can expect in these programs. Students will learn a few of the most important health informatics skills, including patient care, assembling & analyzing medical records, health information, problem-solving skills, interpersonal skills, programming knowledge, and communication skills. While the curriculum might vary from university to university, there are some common courses that students can expect to see in online masters in health informatics. A few of them are given below:
Data Management in Healthcare
Data has revolutionized the world and more so in the Healthcare field. This course deals with hands-on experience and knowledge of development in a wide range of data-driven healthcare.
HCI for Information System
This course focuses on user-centric design frameworks and principles. It will cover different techniques that involve the user.
Measuring public health and well-being
This course provides the foundational knowledge of public health evidence-based practice and data analysis and will have a wide range of examples.
Public Health Perspectives
This course focuses on concepts and key debates that provide an outstanding grounding in public health. Students will build expertise and knowledge about healthcare at a community, state, or country level.
Leadership in Public Health
In this course, students will learn skills, knowledge, and behavior needed to lead and manage the health practices for the implementation of public health policies that affect thousands of people.
Accreditation for Online Masters in Health Informatics Programs
Accreditation is a process that determines if the degree programs offered by the universities meet professional and industry standards of quality. The review process is done by an independent review team of experts and professionals from the industry or academe. Accreditation is a key factor in students’ search for high-quality degree programs. Apart from the quality of education, recognition for the degree, accreditation also qualifies students for federal financial aid, for Ph.D. admissions, and it ensures the credits students earn in a particular university can be transferred to another. Students need to pick an online master’s in health informatics program that is accredited. The most common accreditation body for health informatics degrees is:
Timeline for graduation from Masters in Health Informatics Programs
Several factors affect the timeline taken to graduate from Masters in Health Informatics online programs. The most important factor in the program’s length is whether students choose to enroll in a full-time program or a part-time one. For a full-time student, the degree generally between 2 to 3 years. However, for part-time students, it would take more time – around 2 to 4 years. These timelines also vary from university to university, undergraduate degree, prerequisites, etc. It is essential to note that some universities offer accelerated degrees in online Masters in health informatics programs. Few of them are listed in this guide.
Online Masters in Health Informatics Programs Admission Requirements
Most students are concerned about the admission requirements for online masters in health informatics. This is because of the nature of these programs, which include healthcare and information technology fields. While it is important to note that the admission requirements vary from program to program, most universities have common admission requirements. A few of the most-common health informatics degree requirements are given below. However, we suggest that students check out the admission requirements of the university that they are considering:
A four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university.
Almost all universities want to see the transcripts from the undergraduate degree program to assess the students’ performance from other academic programs.
Letters of Recommendation
Students are required to submit two or three letters of recommendation. These letters can be written by students’ past professors, co-workers, or any individuals who have/had a significant role in students’ lives, education, or careers.
An updated resume that contains all details about the student’s education, career, and certifications.
GRE or GMAT test scores. Please note that some universities are waiving this requirement for various reasons.
A personal essay describes students’ motivation behind choosing the health informatics program and particular reasons behind choosing the university they are applying to.
One Year Health Informatics Masters Programs Online
Many students and professionals are looking to graduate from higher education programs fast in today’s competitive world. But most universities have requirements about how many credits students can earn in a given semester. This causes delays in the plan to graduate fast. Luckily, some universities do not put these artificial barriers for graduation fast. Such universities provide accelerated degrees such as one-year Masters in Health Informatics programs. It is essential to know that accelerated learning is difficult. Students need to have immense focus and dedicated time to finish the required coursework. Here are a few accredited universities that offer one-year Masters in Health Informatics programs:
How to Pay for Online Master’s in Health Informatics Programs
One of the biggest questions that many students have before pursuing a master’s degree in – how to pay for the Master’s program? And the rising cost of education complicates the plans for higher education. Paying for an online Master’s in health informatics is also not easy. Here are a few ways that students can pay for online masters in health informatics programs:
Students have to complete an online FAFSA form to be eligible for federal grants, loans, scholarships, and work-study. FAFSA has no income limit and, depending on the financial need; students are provided with financial aid.
Grants are mostly need-based, unlike merit-based fellowships. They are also called gift-aids because they are such a financial aid that does not need a repayment.
A student loan is a financial aid that must be paid back. Students can get a loan from any private organization such as banks or publicly available loans backed by governmental agencies. There are two types of student loans — a public student loan and a private student loan. Most students prefer public student loans as the interest rates are lower.
Fellowships are merit-based scholarships awarded to the students based on criteria like achievements, academics, talents, hobbies, and affiliations with several career groups. These can be offered by the state or federal government, local businesses, large corporations, universities, or professional organizations.
Tuition reimbursement programs are offered by some employers that want to encourage their employees to pursue higher education and grow up in careers. Students can check with their employers to see if they have any such programs.
Scholarships for Masters in Health Informatics Students
Students pursuing health informatics degrees can take advantage of certain scholarships available to them. It is essential to note that scholarships are the most merit-based awards for which students need to qualify, apply and stand above the competition to receive those awards. Here are a few scholarships for which online masters in health informatics students can apply for:
The American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA) provides an annual scholarship of $3,000 to three graduate students who have showcased outstanding performance and are enrolling in a graduate-level program that focuses on healthcare informatics or nursing.
The Health Information and Management System Society (HIMSS) provides three scholarships of $5,000 each to doctoral, Master’s, and undergraduate students who are enrolled in a full-time program for health information technology, health informatics, computer science, health administration, health information management, and other related fields.
This scholarship program is sponsored by the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). It provides $5,000 per year to the brightest students enrolled for doctoral, Master and bachelor’s programs in health information management or health informatics.
Free Health Informatics Courses
Some students search for free online masters in health informatics programs. At the same time, it is important to know that there are no free accredited Master’s in Health Informatics, but there are plenty of free online informatics courses. These free health informatics courses improve skills and provide a window into how a master’s program might look. Many students enroll in these free programs to get a feel before deciding to pursue a full blow online Master’s degree in health informatics. Here are a few free health information technology courses available online.
Health Informatics Specialization: Coursera offers this free learning that contains five courses in which students can learn about the technical and social context of problems in informatics, successful implementation of health informatics interventions, designing a health informatics solution for decision support, and answering a problem in health informatics through data analysis and retrieval.
Informatics Courses: One of the most note-worthy revolutions within artificial intelligence is in healthcare. As the data keeps increasing, using the information using data mining can improve well-being and health. Students can choose from a range of Health Informatics courses that edX offers and ignite their careers in this field.
Health Informatics in the Cloud: This course provides a forward-facing and broad overview of contemporary health IT. Students learn the real-time application of health informatics from medical, electronics, and personal health records to exploiting the data aggregated from them digitally for research and other reasons.
FAQs about Health Informatics Masters Programs
Q: What is a health informatics degree?
A:A health informatics degree is an intersection of computer science, information science, and health care fields. It deals with devices, resources, and methods required to optimize the storage, acquisition, use, and retrieval of information in biomedicine and health.
Q: Master in health informatics worth it?
A:The field of health informatics is an exceptionally good choice as a career because it offers various specializations and various jobs available at every level of the degree program. The field is growing faster than the average growth of jobs in the country.
Q: Is health informatics hard?
A:Health informatics is not hard if students spend enough time on it. Even if the courses are hard, students can offset it by spending the right amount of time to master them
Q: What can I do with a Master’s in Health Informatics?
A:You can work as an information analyst, informatics specialist, clinical informaticist, chief medical information officer, and other related roles. You can also pursue a career in applied research and higher education.
Q: What is the average salary of an Informaticist?
A:The average annual pay of all the informaticists in the United States is around $72,000.
Q: What is the practical use of health informatics?
A:Health informatics is used for improving the quality of patient care. These professionals are involved in healthcare apps, patient portals, telehealth, electronic medical records, and data reporting tools.
Careers and Salary Outlook for Health Informatics Masters Graduates
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate in health informatics and related fields should increase nearly 17% from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for any profession. Students who have completed a Masters in Health Informatics can focus on these specialties and their annual salaries:
Informatics nurses are a bridge between the IT and Clinical staff. Informatics nurses evaluate the health care facilities to determine which clinical information technology applications will increase efficiency.
Health Informatics Specialist
These specialists work closely in implementing technology in the health care setting. They train the staff and create educational documents for procedures and systems, and troubleshoot when problems arise.
Clinical Informatics Specialist
Clinical informatics specialists work with the systems related to digitalizing medical records. They create processes to improve procedures and oversee any document (paper-based) to a digital system.
Clinical analysts evaluate data to improve the workflow and the health care facility’s overall clinical information system. They specialize in working with data sets.
Clinical Informatics Manager
Clinical informatics managers oversee the clinical information operations at a health care facility. They train and manage the staff, direct activities, monitor budgets and ensure that all the systems comply with federal, state, and professional regulatory standards.
Certifications and Licensing for Health Informatics Masters Graduates
Certification is a document that proves that students have gained a certain level of achievement and knowledge that qualifies them for specializations. It helps students land a wide range of career options. Licensure is proof that a governmental agency has approved students’ work in a specialized profession. Many students get certifications and licenses to stand out against the competition. Graduates of masters in health informatics programs should the below certifications seriously to be able to compete.
Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT®): AHIMA offers the RHIT certification. This certification demonstrates that an individual can use computer applications to improve the control cost or patient care, check the quality of the medical records, and specialize in coding procedures and diagnoses for reimbursement or research.
Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA®): American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers CHDA certification that recognizes and validates individuals who are professionals in health data analysis.
Additional Resources for Health Informatics Professionals
Students should never limit themselves to using online libraries only. Even while pursuing a degree, networking can line up a post-graduate career. Students should consider joining organizations and professional associations in the field of health informatics. There are forums, national meetings, research publications, magazines, newsletters, and networking opportunities from the conferences conducted throughout the year. Many of these organizations help students find the guidance and mentorship they need. Here are a few resources that students of health informatics programs should be associated with:
American Medical Informatics Association: AMIA is one of the active and largest health informatics organizations. It is a society of healthcare professionals in a wide range of occupations and roles. It organizes an annual conference, educational gatherings, and publications.
National Institutes of Health Informatics: NIHI is a great organization for students to pursue their Masters in Health Informatics online. It offers benefits and excellent resources to all of its professional and student members.
American Health Informatics Management Association: AHIMA is an organization that caters to professionals in Health Informatics. Membership is open to professionals as well as for students pursuing health informatics training. Students learn the necessary job skills and detailed information about the health informatics profession.
American Nursing Informatics Association: For professionals in Nursing Informatics, the ANIA offers excellent benefits, rewards, professional connections, and many other opportunities. With a membership, students have access to data findings and journals in nursing informatics.
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