Medical informatics is a sub-discipline of health informatics that combines the study of healthcare and information technology. At the undergraduate level, universities and colleges mainly offer degree programs in health informatics; programs in medical informatics are more commonly found at the master's and Ph.D. levels. Students of these graduate programs may participate in capstone courses or complete a dissertation project. Graduates might pursue jobs such as network systems administrator or information analyst.
In terms of admissions, a bachelor's degree with 3.0 GPA and satisfactory scores on the GRE, GMAT or MCAT are required for master's degree programs. Students will also need letters of recommendation, a personal essay and completed prerequisite coursework in algebra, statistics, medical terminology, computer science and programming. For a doctoral degree, a master's degree in related field of study is required along with letters of recommendation, an essay and satisfactory scores on the GRE, GMAT or MCAT.
Master of Science in Medical Informatics
Students learn the history of the U.S. healthcare system, accounting procedures, research methods and project management skills. Studies in healthcare management prepare students to build and lead a team of healthcare workers and to design and implement telecommunications systems that manage information sharing through healthcare organizations.
Coursework includes information technology and management studies and a culminating graduate capstone course. Topics discussed in coursework include:
- Electronic health records
- Database systems
- Medical coding
- Data mining
- Healthcare ethics
Ph.D. in Medical Informatics
This research-intensive, interdisciplinary Ph.D. program combines studies from departments of health science, nursing, business administration, medical science and information technology. Students choose from one of several concentration areas, including knowledge-based and health information systems. Coursework covers a wide-range of subjects from statistical research to computer networks, security and architecture. Ph.D. candidates study business, healthcare and information management and complete a doctoral dissertation towards the culmination of the program.
Ph.D. courses prepare students to utilize research to develop and manage efficient health information systems and to protect data contained in those systems. Course topics might include:
- Network security
- Operating systems
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that network and computer systems administrators held 366,250 jobs in the United States in 2018 and earned a median salary of $82,050 annually (www.bls.gov). Jobs in the field are expected to grow by 5% between 2018 and 2028.
Continuing Education Information
The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) offers numerous continuing education opportunities to its members, including podcasts, annual meetings, an e-learning center, academic forum and a training program that covers the areas of clinical, nursing, public health and research informatics.
Popular Career Options
Graduates find employment opportunities at hospitals, non-profit organizations, insurance and pharmaceutical companies and more. Potential career titles for graduates include:
- Chief information officer
- Information analyst
- Information architect
Degree programs in medical informatics are available to students in the form of a master's or Ph.D. After graduating, students can go on to careers as a chief information officers and computer systems administrators, among others.