Master's degree programs in clinical data management, which are more commonly called health information management or health informatics programs, train students in the storage, retrieval, inspection and protection of sensitive medical information using physical and digital means. These programs typically combine theoretical coursework with independent research and may culminate in a final thesis, although non-thesis programs are available. In order to apply to one of these two-year programs, students must hold a bachelor's degree.
Masters in Clinical Data
In total, students must complete 33 to 45 semester hours of coursework prior to graduation. Courses typically cover topics in law, strategy and technology. Possible course titles include:
- Clinical healthcare basics
- Health record strategies
- Healthcare decision-making
- Healthcare information systems and sources
- Legal issues in managing clinical data
- Medical terminology and classification systems
Graduates are prepared for a variety of careers in the field, including the following:
- Clinical data management consultant
- Clinical review manager
- Director of health management information
- Health informatics product analyst
- Healthcare information risk manager
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Professionals in clinical data management deal with issues such as using electronic health records, exchanging health information and converting files to the newest ICD coding system. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical and health services managers in general could expect job growth of 17% from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, the BLS reported, medical and health services managers earned a median annual salary of $94,500.
Continuing Education and Certification
Because of ever-changing technologies, professionals in clinical data management need to continue taking courses throughout their careers. Continuing education classes may be taken through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). The organization offers seven certifications in the areas of healthcare privacy and security, medical coding, and health data analysis. Two health information management certifications are the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) and Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT).
In conclusion, by earning a master's degree in a field related to clinical data management, students prepare for careers working with patient health records.