Online Master’s Programs in Health Informatics

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What You’ll Learn with a Master’s in Health Informatics and Career Potential

Health informatics is a burgeoning professional field with career opportunities ranging from clinical informatics to health information management. Technology is transforming the modern concept of healthcare and the master’s in health informatics can give you access to advanced career options in healthcare. Whether it’s skill building in statistical modeling or health information security, a graduate degree in health informatics can lead to success throughout the healthcare industry.

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To generate this year’s list of the best online master’s in health informatics programs, we examined data from the U.S. Department of Education, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and information from each individual academic program. Schools and universities on this list are all fully accredited.

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Top 10 Online Masters in Health Informatics

Best Online Master’s in Health Informatics

  1. Park University
    Location

    Parkville, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Park University's Master of Health Care Informatics resides in the School of Business' College of Management. It's designed to give a broad leadership and business perspective to the health care field. Students interested in health care information systems may specialize in the Management Information Systems track which requires 36 hours of coursework. Students must select 24 credits of core coursework which includes courses such as Management of Health, Health Care Economics & Policy, Health Care Operations Management and Legal & Ethical Issues in Health Care Administration. Additionally, there are 12 credits (4 courses) of required information systems concentration courses: Information Security & Risk Management, Management Information Systems, Database Management Systems and Data Analysis & Business Analytics. To complete the program, all students must complete a capstone course in Health Care Strategic Management & Marketing. The program sees the management approach as creating a cadre of future health care leaders with a mind for strategic leadership.

  2. Arkansas Tech University
    Location

    Russellville, AR

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Arkansas Tech University's Master of Science in Health Informatics program provides students with a foundation in leadership and policy along with elements of ensuring security and privacy in health care information. The degree is designed with a multidisciplinary approach to provide a holistic set of skills and knowledge where graduates can find positions such as public health analytists, health information trainers, health care technology consultants or chief information officers. The program requires the completion of 35 semester hours of coursework. Examples of core courses includes Emerging Trends in Health Information, Security & Privacy in Health Informatics, Leadership in Health Informatics, Database Systems and Health Care Policy. Students may choose elective coursework that is geared specifically toward their career goals (e.g. Information Systems Resource Management, Emerging Trends in IT and Developing and Administering Websites). Applicants to the program must have completed an introductory course in healthcare informatics and a computer programming courses or equivalent experience.

  3. Independence University
    Location

    Salt Lake City, UT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Independence University's Master of Science in Health Care Administration not only provides students with the foundations to become a leader within the health sector, but could also appeal to students interested in health care information systems. The program is ideal for students wishing to enter health care management. Through a focus on both the business and medical knowledge in the program, students will graduate with a broad foundation that can lead to positions including policy analyst, human resource manager in a health care setting, medical group manager or director of operations or communications. The entire program requires 57.5 credits and can take as few as 15 months to complete. The program has a prescriptive curriculum making it an accelerated learning process in a completely online format. Courses include Health Care Economics & Policy Analysis, Issues in Managed Care, Health Care Information Systems and Legal Considerations in Health Care Delivery. Students must also complete a final project or thesis to graduate.

  4. Dakota State University
    Location

    Madison, SD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Dakota State University's Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management poises students to be at the center of the "paperless revolution" in health care. Graduates go on to a variety of careers including researchers, health care data analysts, clinical informatics, or IT systems analysts in a health care setting. Dakota State University touts a strong reputation in the technology field where students will be provided a foundation in security, data management, data privacy, analytics and application development. Incoming students should have the essential Information Systems knowledge, essential health care knowledge and fundamental statistics through either undergraduate coursework or verifiable professional experience. The program requires the completion of 33 credit hours of coursework and can be completed 100% online either full or part time. Full-time students can earn their degree in as few as 4 or 5 semesters.

  5. Southwestern Oklahoma State University
    Location

    Weatherford, OK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Southwestern Oklahoma State University's M.S. in Health Care Informatics & Information Management is built on the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education's standards. Because the program is newer, it will be seeking accreditation soon. To complete the program, students must complete 30 credit hours of coursework which can be done completely online. Among the core courses are Corporate Compliance & Quality Data Management in Health Care, Legal & Privacy Issues in Health Informatics, Health Care Decision Support Systems and Health Care Strategic Planning. Students can choose between a thesis or non-thesis option. The thesis requires a graduate research proposal prior to conducting the research. This is an ideal option for students interested in a research career track. For the non-thesis option, students complete a professional practice experience and a final capstone project as a summation of the skills and knowledge learned through the coursework and practicum.

  6. Michigan Technological University
    Location

    Houghton, MI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Michigan Technological University's M.S. in Medical Informatics seeks to prepare students for one of the fastest growing fields in the U.S. through a completely online program. The program is designed to prepare students with a foundation in evidence-based medicine, health care security, disease management and complex medical decision-making. The program offers 3 specializations (Health Care Information Security and Privacy, Health Care Data Informatics and Visualization and Imaging Informatics) and 3 completion tracks (thesis, report and coursework options). Each option requires a different path toward graduation. The thesis option, or Plan A, is ideal for students interested in research and requires a minimal amount of coursework (20 credits), however it requires an extensive amount of thesis research (equal to 6-10 credits). The report option, or Plan B, straddles the thesis and coursework options requiring 24 credits of coursework and the completion of a 2-6 credit project report. Finally the coursework option, or Plan C, is a more traditional degree for those interested in the professional career in informatics. Plan C requires 30 credits of coursework. Examples of core courses that are consistent for each track includes Introduction to Medical Informatics, Security & Privacy, Systems Analysis & Design and Population Health Management & Monitoring.

  7. Northern Kentucky University
    Location

    Highland Heights, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Northern Kentucky University's Master of Science in Health Informatics program provides students with a foundation in research methods, information governance and policy and data analysis techniques. The program seeks to prepare its graduates with an understanding of how Informatics is at the center of information systems changes by focusing on data visualization, mHealth, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence. The program requires the completion of 33 credit hours which are offered both on campus and online with a variety of course and program start times throughout the year. Examples of core courses includes Technical Foundations of Health Informatics, Information Technology Project Management and Evidence-Based Health Care Methods. Students may also choose from one of 3 specializations (Health Care Data Analytics, Health Care Process Management and Health Care Cybersecurity) from which they will choose 3 courses (9 credit hours) of elective courses. To complete the program, students must complete a final capstone project which includes work/project experience and a synthesis paper. Additionally, students must maintain an electronic portfolio throughout the program that reflects growth and development throughout the coursework.

  8. University of Mississippi
    Location

    University, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    University of Mississippi's Master of Health Informatics and Information Management offers a completely online program designed for students interested in management, health care and technology. The program has a strong focus on business administration, preparing graduates for leadership positions within the field. The skills and knowledge gained from the program can lead students to a variety of areas within health care including facility reimbursement, health care evaluation, medical research and quality assurance. The program offers 2 tracks: health informatics for those wishing to design and implement health care information systems and health information management which emphasizes health care management and administration. Students who complete the Health Information Management Track become eligible for the Registered Health Information Administrator national certification exam. The curriculum requires the completion of 41 credit hours which can take 2 years to complete if enrolled full-time for fall, spring and summer courses. Example courses include Health Information & Computer Science, Management of Health Information Services & Systems and Health Care Performance Improvement Strategies. The program touts a high student and employer satisfaction rate from the 2015-2016 outcomes assessment report with 100% employment rate of graduates, 100% employer satisfaction rate and 100% graduate satisfaction rate with 80% of graduates directly working in the field.

  9. Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
    Location

    Edwardsville, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville's M.S. in Health Informatics program strives to prepare its students for innovative leadership roles within health informatics so as to improve health care technology systems and structures. Because of the broad nature of the field, faculty have backgrounds and expertise in a variety of fields including business, health care, education and engineering. The program requires the completion of 14 online courses to graduate including Social, Ethical & Legal Issues in an Informative Age, Managing Quality & Safety in Health Care, Introduction to Epidemiology and Database Design. Students must complete a capstone project to graduate. The master's degree program is currently in the candidacy stages of accreditation and is awaiting review from the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

  10. Louisiana Tech University
    Location

    Ruston, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Louisiana Tech University's Master of Health Informatics program strives to prepare confident and innovative professionals who will engage in a variety of information systems and technologies in a diverse set of healthcare environments. The program is offered completely online and uses a variety of communications formats including online lectures, email, electronic bulletin boards and a digital drop box system. The program requires the completion of 45 credit hours of coursework. Examples of courses include Health Care Compliance, Database Architecture, Project Management, Leadership in Health Care and Evaluation of Information Systems. Students must also complete a final capstone project that summarizes and showcases the knowledge built through the program and how it can be applied in a real-world setting. Students interested in pursuing research opportunities are encouraged to contact appropriate faculty who work in the desired research areas. The program also encourages participation in related professional associations such as The American Health Information Management Association and The American Medical Informatics Association because of the potential for career growth through networking and personal connections with others in the field.

What Can I Learn in an Online Master’s in Health Informatics Program?

Health informatics is an emerging interdisciplinary field integrating the study of analytics and information technology, clinical health practice and biomedical science. The master’s in health informatics emphasizes a multifaceted curriculum in health data analytics and research, security and privacy, information technology and administrative practices. This program builds student skills in areas ranging from natural language processing to consumer health informatics. Additional skills taught during an online master’s program in health informatics include:

  • The development and use of emerging information technologies across healthcare service delivery
  • Best practices in patient information security and ethical use of private health care data
  • Effective communication skills between technical professionals and non-technical staff members and patients
  • Strategic planning and analytical skills to use health information technology to support decision making and conduct outcomes assessments

What’s the difference between a master’s in health informatics and an MBA in health informatics?

In both degree options, students master all fundamentals of working in health informatics. Both degree options include coursework in information technology related to healthcare, healthcare management and planning. However, an MBA in health informatics also includes core business classes focusing on finance, accounting, statistics and business management. Individuals wishing to advance their careers in the technical or administrative side of healthcare may benefit from an MBA in health informatics.

What common courses are offered in a master’s in health informatics program?

Coursework varies by individual program, but graduate degrees in health informatics cover major concepts in health informatics applications, databases, data regulations and security practices. Below is a list of common coursework students may encounter in a Master of Science of Health Informatics program.

Information security

This course emphasizes the fundamentals of information security and examines strategic approaches and industry requirements for maintaining data privacy and restricting data access. Students learn about the latest in information security hardware and software, as well as using those tools to ensure data integrity.

Healthcare databases

This class covers database systems in healthcare settings, including their design, development and implementation. Instruction introduces students to regulations, data compliance and relational database use.

Health informatics applications and data analytics

This course provides students with knowledge about basic research methodology in the field of health care and medicine. Major areas of study include bioinformatics, the proper collection and storage of health informatics data and regulated analysis and use of that information.

Introduction to health informatics

This course serves as a major overview of the health informatics field, including the study of computer and data use in medicine and healthcare. Students gain an understanding of healthcare data literacy, current data regulations and standards, software applications and health informatics research methodologies.

Public health informatics

This class focuses on the principles and practices of public health surveillance, including epidemiology. Students gain practical skills in maintaining patient information through databases and using computer information systems to address issues in public health.

Health informatics ethics and regulation

Through this class, students are exposed to health information system’s regulatory, legal and ethical issues. The course emphasizes ethical decision-making in terms of using computer technology for health care services delivery, as well as risk-management strategies to mitigate liability.

What exams or projects should I expect?

Depending on the health informatics program, you might be required to complete a capstone project, thesis or internship. Internships take place in your local community with a partner health organization where you participate in hands-on health informatics projects. Capstone courses are oriented around a research project in a personal or professional area of interest, while the thesis is a long-form research paper that investigates an issue or problem in the health informatics field.

What specializations are available in a master’s in health informatics program?

Because of its relatively young age, health informatics is still taking shape as an industry. That means students have the opportunity to specialize their skill sets in a number of arenas, such as health technology or nursing. Before selecting a graduate program, students should consider their career paths to ensure the curriculum matches their academic and skill development needs. Below is a list of potential educational concentrations available in online master’s of health informatics programs.

Health information technology

This specialization covers the fundamental principles and practices of information technology use throughout healthcare, covering topics such as organizational systems, project management and vendor relationships.

Health information administration

Students develop knowledge of health informatics administrative and management practices in healthcare service delivery and introduces subject such as information system acquisition processes and consumer e-health expectations.

Nursing informatics

This specialization is designed for registered nurses seeking to build skills in information and knowledge management practices and improve the quality of clinical healthcare practices through the integration of technology.

Health informatics cybersecurity

In this specialization, students explore the relationship between health information, privacy and computer security, developing knowledge of privacy regulations and security practices in areas such as telemedicine and electronic health records.

What Can I do with a Master’s in Health Informatics Degree?

The transmission, security and use of information technology in medicine and healthcare has transformed patient care. That change has put a greater emphasis on using data to make clinical decisions and administer and manage healthcare service delivery. With a master’s in health informatics, graduates can make a difference in their chosen specialty, regardless if they have a background in medicine or information technology. Below is a list of potential career paths in health information and healthcare open to those with a health informatics master’s degree.

Clinical applications analyst

Clinical applications analysts are specialists that manage the transmission of information between healthcare providers and health information systems (e.g. electronic health records).

Data scientist

Data scientists study and analyze large data sets from clinical trials, medical research and other sources to discover patterns and create data-driven analyses in areas such as genomics or disease modeling.

Electronic medical record specialist

Electronic medical record specialists handle day-to-day health information, such as patient conditions and treatment, and enter that information into health informatics software for use in patient care or insurance billing.

Health informatic director

A senior-level position responsible for managing a health organization’s information systems, handling technology issues and creating health information policies.

Healthcare IT project manager

Health IT project managers handle the end-to-end information technology systems and services for healthcare organizations (e.g. hospitals, managed care networks), overseeing technology selection, installation and training.

Health researcher

Health researchers conduct use data-driven approaches to technology use in health care in order to discover ways to improve patient care practices.

Nursing informatics specialist

Nursing informatics specialists are registered nurses who have specialized skills in managing health information and data systems and work in cross-functional teams to leverage technology to improve patient care plans.

As students plot their career goals, they should also consider joining professional associations and organizations in health data and informatics. These associations manage industry certifications, host annual conferences, provide professional training and development programs, offer scholarships and grants and operate networking events via state, regional and local affiliates.

American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)

The AHIMA is a certification organization that provides multiple certification programs in health informatics, training and education platforms and mentoring programs.

American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)

The AMIA is a professional organization for individuals in the health information industry that offers educational programs, publishes a journal, hosts conferences and more.

American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA)

The ANA is an association dedicated to advancing the practice of nursing informatics through education programs, research and policy.

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

HIMSS is a global nonprofit organization for information and technology professionals that offers multiple certification programs in health information and technology and provides scholarships.

How Much Can I Make with a Career in Health Informatics?

Below are some of the careers that may be open to graduates with a master’s degree in health informatics. Students should note that some of these positions may require additional licensure, certification or experience, depending on the career, employer and job requirements.

CAREERLOWEST 10% EARNED ANNUALLYMEDIAN ANNUAL SALARYHIGHEST 10% EARNED ANNUALLYJOB GROWTH 2016-2026
Medical Records & Health Information TechniciansLess than $25,810$39,180More than $64,610+13%
Medical & Health Services ManagerLess than $58,350$98,350More than $176,130+20%
Computer & Information Research ScientistLess than $65,540$114,520More than $176,780+19%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

During the past twenty years, health informatics has emerged as a new discipline as technology integration becomes more prevalent throughout healthcare. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was signed into law in 2009 and formalized the use of health information technology in the United States healthcare system. Since that time, the industry has started to mature and has launched a new category of careers that didn’t exist a decade ago. Because of the relatively young age of these roles, employment data is still emerging. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports health information technicians are expected to see 13 percent job growth between 2016 and 2026. Overall, anecdotal information from AHIMA and other health informatics associations points to a rapidly growing industry.

Along with career advancement, a master’s degree can also pave the way to higher career earnings. According to data from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, individuals with a bachelor’s degree in the space earn a median salary of $55,000 while those with a graduate degree earn 45% more annually ($80,000).

Online Master’s in Health Informatics Program Accreditation

Accreditation is an indication of an academic program’s overall quality as it demonstrates the curriculum, instruction and faculty meet nationally recognized standards. It’s first important to distinguish between health information management (HIM) and health informatics (HI). Health information management deals with managing and processing personal health information in healthcare organizations. Health informatics (HI) deals with applied practices to develop information technology systems to advance medicine and medical care.

In health information management, the primary accrediting body is the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). For health information management (HIM) professionals, attending an accredited program is required to sit for certification examinations with the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and other groups. However, health informatics (HI) programs are not required to be accredited at the academic program level.

How to Pay for a Master’s in Health Informatics Degree

There is more than one way to pay for a master’s in health informatics degree. The list below shows some options available to master’s students:

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