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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Health Informatics

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Health Informatics

Value
Northeastern University wins best online master’s degree in health informatics for value. PayScale.com reports that Northeastern University has a 6.5% return on investment without financial aid, and a 7.8% return on investment with financial aid. Northeastern University provides financial information for its online programs on its website, as well as information about applying for aid, grants, and scholarships.

Flexibility
Kent State University wins best online health informatics master’s degree program for flexibility. Kent State University’s online courses are accessible through the Vista course management system from Kent State’s FlashLine. Course registration is also accessed through FlashLine. Kent State University’s health informatics program is a concentrated 24-month program consisting of 12 different three-credit, asynchronous courses.

Career Support
Kent State University wins best online master’s degree program in health informatics for career support. The Kent State University Career Services Center provides networking tips, a job and internship search database, and career assessment pages. Career services also provides interviewing, professional images, resumes, and other guides for career preparation.

Financial Support
Walden University wins best online master’s degree program in health informatics for financial support. The Online Education Database ranks Walden University No. 26 for financial support, reporting that 84% of Walden University’s students receive financial aid. Walden University provides a net price calculator and tuition, federal financial aid, and additional funding options information on its financial aid website.

Technology Support
Walden University wins best online master’s degree program in health informatics for technology support. Walden University’s online courses are compatible on Apple, PC, Unix, and Linux computers. All of Walden University’s online courses are recorded video lectures, accessible on software-based readers, smartphones, and tablet computers through the MobileLearn Application. Walden University also provides 24/7 technical support.

Disability Support
The Disability Resource Center at Northeastern University accommodates approved students with alternative format materials like Braille, and large print materials, exam-related accommodations, and adjusted course load and tuition options. Students who have registered with the Disability Resource Center must activate services by requesting Professor Notification Letters each semester. Students may also volunteer to be note-takers through the Disability Resource Center. Northeastern University wins best online health informatics master’s degree program for disability support.

Library Support
Northeastern University wins best online master’s degree program in health informatics for library support. Northeastern University libraries give students access to multimedia services, research tutorials, archived theses and dissertations, and 24/7, online access to a librarian. Technical support is also available through Northeastern University’s libraries.

Learning Support
Walden University wins best online master’s degree program in health informatics for learning support. Walden University’s online courses are accessible from a range of formats. Online students at Walden University benefit from mentoring, live tutoring, writing workshops and academic advising, all available online. Students may track their progress through their ePortfolio where they may also submit assignments, collaborate with class mates, and review past work.

Faculty Credentials/Qualifications
Walden University wins best online master’s degree program in health informatics for faculty credentials. Walden University’s courses are designed by certified instructional designers within the school. Walden University’s instructors have an average of two years’ experience teaching online courses. Instructors are required to undergo online instructional training, financially provided by Walden University.

Faculty Accessibility and Involvement
Walden University wins best online health informatics master’s degree program for faculty accessibility and involvement. Online students at Walden University have access to mentoring, live tutoring, writing workshops and academic advising. Online students may expect response to e-mails sent to their instructors within 48 hours.

Alumni Engagement
Northeastern University provides regional and international chapters and college- and program-specific alumni events. Alumni may access the Northeastern career center, the online directory, and continuing education programs through the Northeastern Alumni website. Northeastern University wins best online master’s degree program in health informatics for alumni engagement.

Prior Learning Options
Walden University wins best online health informatics master’s degree program for prior learning options. Walden University offers transfer credit for professional certification and experience through prior learning assessment. Students may also earn master’s level credit through Walden’s Accelerate Into Master’s (AIM) program. Military students may be eligible to transfer credits to Walden from military experience.

New Student Orientation
Kent State University wins best online master’s degree program in health informatics for new student orientation. The Online Orientation website provides information on accessing online classes, library resources, and student portfolios, handbook highlights, and graduate student coping strategies. The orientation page also provides information about registering for classes and introductory videos from departmental faculty.

Explore a Master’s Degree in Health Informatics

Bringing the disciplines of information science, computer science, and healthcare together, health informatics is concerned with the devices and methods used in the management of information in health and biomedicine. Students in graduate programs for health informatics learn about information technology, health organizations, people, and healthcare systems, and gain an understanding about how they function and relate to one another. Healthcare professionals who wish to integrate health informatics into their current positions or receive the training necessary to obtain a position as a health informaticist, may want to consider earning a master’s degree in this area. In general, health administration degree programs require students to complete 36-43 credit hours, which can take up to two to three years to complete. Even so, the amount of time it can take to complete a graduate program can vary, especially when it comes to factors like previously earned credits or enrollment status.

Class Curriculum

Students in these types of programs will take courses related to health sciences and information technology, receive hands-on training in informatics, and obtain the skills and abilities needed to integrate systems, increase workflow, and improve overall healthcare delivery. Courses cover topics such as health information systems, data management, workflow design, project management, and the healthcare system. Courses likely to be a part of a graduate health informatics program include:

  • Information Technology and Systems. This course introduces students to health informatics and technology concepts in modern computing and information management. Topics include Internet, communication protocols, computer networks, data architecture, computer security, database management and server systems.
  • Financial Management in Healthcare. Students learn about the financial aspects of healthcare organizations. This includes financial statements, operational budgeting, capital project management, internal controls, contracts, cost reporting, and reimbursement methods.
  • Health Information Systems Analysis and Design. This course is focused on the application of systems analysis and design theory in the development of health information systems. Students learn the basics of object-oriented programming, relational databases, user requirements, data structures, data warehousing strategies, and more.

Along with the material covered in courses, graduate students in health informatics programs
learn from analyzing case studies, participating in group projects, and hands-on practice. Some programs may require students to participate in research where they develop, collect, examine, and analyze data. It is not uncommon for students to have to complete a research project and thesis in areas like decision support, human-computer interaction and interfaces, the electronic medical record, healthcare systems security, or patient data privacy.

Building a Career

Students graduating with a master’s degree in health informatics should have the skills and abilities needed to use and apply information technology for the purpose of improving healthcare delivery and systems. They can go on to pursue careers as health informaticists in a range of healthcare organizations, such as hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, research labs, and more. Possible job titles include health information manager, health information specialist, information systems analyst, and information systems manager.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of medical and health services managers is expected to increase by 22% from 2010 to 2020. In May 2010, they earned a median annual salary of $84,270. The employment of computer and information systems managers is projected to increase by 18% by 2020 and that of computer systems analysts by 22%.

In May 2010, computer and information systems managers earned a median annual salary of $115,780 and computer systems analysts earned a median salary of $77,740, the BLS reported. Those interested in pursuing master’s degrees in health informatics should keep in mind that these projections are not guarantees of employment or salary, which can vary by location, work experience, education level, economic conditions, and more.

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