Healthcare informatics is a fast-growing field, especially in the areas of health data analytics systems and electronic health records (EHRs). Obtaining a Master of Science (M.S.) 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 (IT) 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 information, data and knowledge. Also known as health informatics, it has developed into a practical science aimed at helping clinicians deliver better healthcare services.
In its modern conception, healthcare informatics is only a few decades old. Yet the evolution of what is now health informatics spans millennia. However, the field advanced exponentially in the last decade and a half. Along with rapid advancements in technology, a major driving force behind the evolution of healthcare informatics was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which former President Obama signed into law in 2009.
Part of this Act includes 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 integrate EHR systems and penalties if these systems are not impactfully implemented.
HITECH had a great impact on healthcare in the U.S., but its adoption faced bumps along the way. While the HITECH Act helped enhance the quality of health services, it also led to some steep learning curves. In the long run, however, the HITECH Act resulted in easier, faster and more robust access to and sharing of patient information for healthcare providers.
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
The M.S. in Health Informatics program from Northern Kentucky University (NKU) 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 and the powerful insight modern analytics technologies provide to improve healthcare processes. In addition, they will learn how healthcare systems operate, ways to improve patient outcomes and how to empower providers to understand and use data to drive decision-making.
The NKU M.S. in Health Informatics 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 several 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 M.S. in Health Informatics program with real-world application studies, NKU prepares students to thrive in health informatics careers.
Learn more about NKU’s online M.S. in Health Informatics program.