Combining medicine and computer science can help significantly improve the healthcare system in the United States. Interdisciplinary efforts between the fields of computer science and medicine can influence medical research, accelerate healthcare progress, expand communication and further education. Algorithms and advanced technologies can enhance medical care to reach more people and process increasing amounts of information. The field of health informatics examines the use of computer science in the medical industry.
The online Master of Science in Health Informatics (MHI) program from Northern Kentucky University (NKU) focuses on applied knowledge and is responsive to increasing market opportunities. This online program is about reimagining healthcare with resources such as artificial intelligence (AI), mHealth, data visualization and the Internet of Things (IoT). Students will learn the systems, science and software behind new technologies and applications using health data to enhance delivery and drive innovation in healthcare.
Healthcare Informatics and Computer Science Within the Medical Field
Health informatics is a growing field that can improve healthcare in various ways. Some examples include digital health, data analysis, medical decision-making, telemedicine, computational modeling and electronic medical records. Using computer software enables researchers to analyze large data sets and find patterns in medical information. Software and algorithms can assist with medical decision-making based on collected data and clinical findings, and telemedicine increases access to care for those who experience difficulties accessing medical care. These techniques are incorporated into overall public health by planning solutions and opportunities and defining data standards with health domain integration.
The use of health informatics is crucial in both clinical and managerial settings. Those in administrative positions will benefit from utilizing various information systems to modify data and interpret information to make critical decisions. Informatics can also aid with time management, but healthcare professionals should ensure they don’t feel overwhelmed by the extensive communication tools.
As a wide-ranging field, health informatics typically breaks down into the categories of public health, consumer health, clinical research, translational and clinical informatics:
- Public health informatics. Public health informatics uses information from population data and applies it to public healthcare. Computers can gather, examine and respond to large data sets.
- Consumer health informatics. Consumer health informatics uses computer technology to strengthen a patient’s experience with medical care. For example, mobile apps, web portals and wearable devices can help patients schedule appointments, fill out paperwork and answer surveys.
- Clinical research informatics. Computer technology uses information gathered from studies to improve the healthcare system. Computer science plays a key role in research to collect data and interpret the results.
- Translational informatics. Translational informatics utilizes computers to analyze and store genomic and biomedical data. Complex data sets can be easily interpreted with modeling, algorithms and simulations.
- Clinical informatics. Computer science can positively impact disease diagnosis and medical decision-making. By studying how artificial intelligence can enhance algorithmic processes, researchers can make it easier for doctors to diagnose patients and plan the correct treatments.
About NKU’s Online Master of Science in Health Informatics
Students in NKU’s online MHI program will gain the knowledge and skills to analyze, unite and enhance healthcare information systems, quality of care and healthcare processes. Students will learn data analysis techniques, research methods, support care coordination, population health reform, information governance best practices to improve health outcomes and how to enable patient care. By learning about clinical informatics, students will discover how the integration and interoperability of healthcare systems are driving change and the move to value-based care.