Health Informatics Bachelor's Degree Program Info

Health informatics involves the collection, storage and acquisition of healthcare data. This is a multidisciplinary field of study, calling for courses in computer science, health care and information science, among others. This article explores bachelor's degree programs in this field, looking at prerequisites, common courses and options for continuing education.

Essential Information

According to guidelines outlined by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM), health informatics degrees are normally offered at the master's degree level; however, a student may enter the health information management field at the baccalaureate level through a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration (HIA).

A bachelor's degree in HIA takes about four years to complete and combines general education requirements with core HIA courses such as database design, statistics in healthcare and management. Programs are offered both on campus and online, and prepare students for the registered health information administrator (RHIA) examination, which is sponsored by the American Healthcare Information Management Association (AHIMA).

Education Prerequisites

While requirements for admission into colleges offering a baccalaureate in HIA may vary, recommended skills include computer science knowledge and the ability to manage others. Students must usually possess a high school diploma and have strong scores on admissions tests.

Program Coursework

HIA courses incorporate information on the impact, uses and applications of technology in healthcare administration. Specific coursework may include:

  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Quality assurance and management
  • Systems and database design
  • Management principles
  • Healthcare statistics
  • Research methods
  • Medical terminology
  • Computer science

Popular Career Options

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health information management is going to experience a 22% growth from 2012-2022, faster than the average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). This growth is due to an aging population who are going to need healthcare services. Potential career roles include:

  • Health information resource manager
  • Healthcare consumer advocate
  • Data quality manager
  • Medical coder
  • Clinical data analyst

The BLS reported a median annual salary of $34,970 for medical records and health information technicians as of May 2013.

Continuing Education Information

Certification through AHIMA is generally expected for employment; therefore, most graduates pursue the RHIA credential. Additional credential options include a certification in healthcare privacy or certification as a health data analyst. Both certifications require a combination of educational and work experience. Master's and doctoral degree programs are available in medical informatics and medical information management for professionals seeking to further their education.

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