Master's in Healthcare Informatics Degrees Online
Online healthcare informatics master's degrees can be pursued at many popular universities across the country. In these degree programs, students will be taught about healthcare informatics, information systems, healthcare business practices, and healthcare ethics. The online healthcare informatics degrees offered by the schools on this page include nursing informatics, MBAs in healthcare informatics, healthcare analytics, and health information systems.
Those seeking online degrees in healthcare informatics should look for programs accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM) or the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).
Most Popular Accredited Online Schools for Healthcare Informatics Master's Degrees
|Rank||School||Annual Tuition||Recommend Rate|
|# 1||Purdue University Global||$10,662||70% (406 reviews)|
|# 2||Southern New Hampshire University Online||$11,286||63% (423 reviews)|
|# 3||Arizona State University||$16,820||67% (107 reviews)|
|# 4||Grand Canyon University||$11,074||52% (505 reviews)|
|# 5||Liberty University||$8,475||57% (316 reviews)|
|# 6||The University of Arizona Global Campus||Not Provided||67% (676 reviews)|
|# 7||Capella University||$15,233||63% (656 reviews)|
|# 8||Regent University Online||$16,952||43% (21 reviews)|
|# 9||Wake Forest University||$39,200||Add Review|
|# 10||Maryville University||$15,646||36% (36 reviews)|
|# 11||Western Governors University||$7,790||72% (710 reviews)|
|# 12||University of Kentucky||$32,564||100% (4 reviews)|
|# 13||The University of Scranton||$11,630||100% (1 review)|
|# 14||University of Illinois at Springfield||$18,176||100% (6 reviews)|
|# 15||University of Southern Indiana||$19,088||Add Review|
|# 16||American National University||$7,296||25% (4 reviews)|
|# 17||Youngstown State University||$12,975||Add Review|
|# 18||South University Online||$14,919||40% (68 reviews)|
|# 19||Northern Kentucky University||$17,358||75% (4 reviews)|
|# 20||The George Washington University||$31,824||60% (5 reviews)|
|# 21||Johns Hopkins University||$57,556||0% (1 review)|
|# 22||West Coast University||$10,521||14% (7 reviews)|
|# 23||University of South Florida Online||$21,126||67% (3 reviews)|
|# 24||Mississippi College||$12,130||0% (1 review)|
|# 25||Boston University||$55,502||100% (3 reviews)|
Overview of Online Healthcare Informatics Degrees
Undergraduate certificates and associate degrees in healthcare informatics are usually designed for entry into the healthcare information technician career. These programs introduce students to medical sciences, medical terminology, healthcare IT, and systems administration. Students learn both the technical and interpersonal skills required in the healthcare IT industry; they also study general education areas like English, public speaking, and mathematics. Some associate degree programs in healthcare information systems require hands-on practicums or internships in a medical setting.
Bachelor’s degrees in healthcare information systems are usually required for entering management and supervisory roles in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other healthcare settings. Students learn about legal issues in medical settings, medical terminology, health records management, medical coding, financial management, and human resources management. Some bachelor’s degrees allow students to specialize in information management in a particular type of healthcare setting, such as a hospital, nursing home, or outpatient facility. Most programs require an internship in an administrative position in a healthcare setting.
An online master’s degree or graduate certificate in healthcare information systems can be a way to advance in healthcare IT or enter the field from a different career. Coursework covers the history of the United States healthcare system, medical informatics, leadership, healthcare operations, biostatistics, and medical information systems acquisitions. These graduate programs may require up to a year of supervised work in a healthcare facility in the student’s local area. Current physicians, nurses, physical therapists, or other care providers may use these programs to update their information systems knowledge.
Online Master's Degrees in Healthcare Informatics
Healthcare informatics master's programs provide students with advanced skills for managing sensitive healthcare data.
These online programs require two years of coursework and around 20 courses. To enroll, applicants will need an accredited bachelor's degree; some programs require previous healthcare experience or minimum GPAs as well. Applications generally require transcripts from all colleges and universities students have previously attended as well as some or all of the following: resume or CV, letters of recommendation, personal statement, and writing samples.
Courses in healthcare information systems help students learn to create new information management and analysis systems for pharmacies and hospitals. Common core courses include statistics, data management, and software engineering. Additional courses explore the role of technology in the healthcare system. Master's students might also be required to take classes in healthcare ethics, healthcare information law, terminology, and healthcare communications.
Many healthcare informatics master's programs have a thesis option or requirement. The thesis is a cumulative project that gives students the chance to take what they have learned in their degree program, spend additional time studying a topic that is of particular interest to them, and write an extensive research paper on the topic. Employers may favor graduates who have chosen relevant thesis topics and completed a quality paper because it shows that they have mastery of a given subject.
The healthcare field is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the United States and in the world. It is also constantly adopting new technologies that require the skills of people trained specifically in healthcare information systems. With a master's degree, graduates may go on to work in healthcare information systems development, implementation, and training organizations around the world. Some graduates with particularly strong programming skills even decide to create their own systems for particular hospitals, pharmacies, or other healthcare organizations.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Healthcare Informatics Degree
Institutional accreditation is granted to colleges and universities that meet established standards. Accreditation is a formal recognition that a school or degree program meets the academic standards of the US Department of Education (USDE). Attending an accredited institution means that you will be receiving an education from faculty members that have met national standards, you will be eligible to receive federal financial aid, and you will have an easier time transferring credits between institutions of higher education.
Accreditation is also important post-graduation. Many employers want to hire graduates from accredited schools and professional certification is usually only available to graduates of accredited programs. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the USDE each offer a database of legitimate accrediting agencies and accredited institutions and programs.
In contrast to institutional accreditation, programmatic accreditation is granted to individual degree programs that meet the academic standards for a particular discipline. The main accrediting agencies for healthcare information systems programs are the Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM) and the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME). Programmatic accreditation indicates that a specific degree program provides educational experiences and resources relevant to the field.
Certifications in Healthcare Informatics
Professional certification in healthcare information systems can help graduates stand out in certain careers. Depending on the state in which you live, some healthcare information systems careers require post-degree certification or licensure. It’s wise for prospective healthcare information systems students to investigate certification and licensure requirements for their state before enrolling in a particular online degree program.
One of the most common certification organizations is the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). AHIMA offers two important credentials for healthcare information managers: the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) and the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT). Candidates for either certification must complete a CAHIIM-accredited degree program and pass an exam. These credentials last for two years so candidates must earn continuing education units to renew them and recertify. In addition to working in medical care facilities, certified healthcare information system managers may also be able to utilize their skills and experience to apply for positions with government agencies, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and law firms.
Classes in Healthcare Informatics Degree Programs
While pursuing an online degree in online healthcare information systems or healthcare informatics, students will be exposed to classes in information technology (IT), informatics, and healthcare operations, records, and management. Introductory classes expose students to the fundamentals of IT system analysis and design, network management, software applications, electronic health records, information exchanges, and the impact of IT on clinical and healthcare personnel and evidence-based medicine.
Early courses in the master's program are typically lecture based, with supplementary reading in a textbook, while later classes focus more on case studies, design, and field experience. In these advanced classes students will work with database design and management, Oracle software, and will complete field experience. Finally, master's programs typically include a capstone project designed by individual students in consultation with a mentor. Projects are often based on the practical work and research students did while completing their field experience. These projects allow students to use classroom knowledge in an effort to solve real-world problems.
Career Specializations in Healthcare Informatics
After completing an online certificate or degree program in healthcare information systems, graduates may pursue a variety of career possibilities that utilize the skills and knowledge needed to accurately maintain sensitive healthcare information such as medical terminology, proper coding and billing procedures, and computer applications. Here are some examples of the job titles that healthcare information systems graduates may pursue:
- Cancer Registrars: These healthcare professionals maintain databases of information with regard to cancer treatment, relapse rates, and survival rates. They may work on national databases or in facility-specific databases.
- Health Information Managers: These healthcare managers are the professionals who administer the information systems used in healthcare facilities. They choose which information systems to use, direct health information technicians, and ensure that electronic records systems are accurate, secure, and up to date.
- Medical Billing and Coding Specialists: These healthcare technicians ensure that hospitals, physician offices, and other healthcare centers are correctly reimbursed for their services by private and public insurance providers. They translate a doctor’s diagnosis into a numerical code, which is then used to charge the insurance provider.
- Medical Records & Health Information Technicians: These specialists are responsible for updating medical records on a daily basis. They ensure that all parts of a patient’s records are kept together and that they are maintained securely and accurately.
Healthcare Informatics vs. Healthcare Information Management
While health informatics and health information management sound similar, they refer to distinctly different careers within the healthcare field. Healthcare information management focuses primarily on the technology used to keep track of patient records and make them accessible to healthcare practitioners. The primary responsibilities of those in the field are the organization and management of data. In contrast, health informatics uses the the data and technology used in healthcare information management to improve the healthcare system for patients. People in the health informatics field utilize computer science and statistics to analyze patient data that is managed and organized by healthcare information management professionals.