Healthcare informatics is a fast-growing field, especially in the areas of health data analytics systems and electronic health records. Obtaining a Master of Science in Health Informatics will position you to take advantage of this growth. Just as important, you will be at the leading edge of information technology as it pertains to healthcare.
Healthcare Informatics – The Basics
In a nutshell, healthcare informatics is the integration of information science, computer science and healthcare science. It is a method of managing and communicating medical data and knowledge. Also known as health informatics, it has developed into a science aimed at helping clinicians deliver better healthcare services.
Healthcare informatics has been around for about 30 years, but it has evolved exponentially in the last decade. The major driving force behind this evolution was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2009.
Part of this Act included the Health Information and Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. One of the most important aspects of HITECH is its provision of incentives to health providers to use electronic health records systems — and penalties if they do not.
HITECH has had a great impact on healthcare in the United States, but its adoption has faced some bumps along the way. While it has helped enhance the quality of health services, it has also led to some steep learning curves. In the long run, however, it has made it much easier and faster for healthcare professionals to both access and share patient information.
A major subset of health informatics is known as clinical informatics. This involves providing a wide range of healthcare professionals with the information they need to determine the most effective plan of care possible for a patient. Physicians, physical therapists, nurses and others use informatics when retrieving information such as medical images and data.
What to Expect When Pursuing a Master of Science in Health Informatics
A Master of Science in Health Informatics (MHI) from Northern Kentucky University equips students with the tools to drive healthcare innovation and provides them with an understanding of the science behind the technology at the core of informatics.
Students will not only learn how to analyze and interpret health informatics data, but also how to apply that data in order to improve healthcare processes. In addition, they will learn how healthcare systems operate as well as ways to improve patient outcomes.
The NKU MHI program is 100% online and consists of 11 courses. These include seven core courses and three electives, as well as a capstone course. The program covers a number of areas, including:
- Data modeling, database design, and ways to implement semantic, object-oriented and relational databases
- Application techniques used to improve health informatics systems, such as joint application development and rapid application development
- The practices, procedures and terminology behind the integration of the clinical and business operations of a healthcare organization
- Empirical health informatics research
Through its rigorous MHI program with real-world application, NKU prepares students to thrive in health informatics careers.
Learn more about NKU's online Master of Science in Health Informatics program.
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