Presently, there are no known online programs available for obtaining a Ph.D. in healthcare information management. However, there are online options for earning a master's degree in this field. Master's degree programs in healthcare information management are available online and on-campus, although even these are relatively rare.
As an alternative, working professionals who prefer the flexibility of a fully online degree program might consider an online Master of Science in Information Management program that does not have a specific healthcare component. These programs have a much wider availability.
Healthcare Information Management Master's Degree
Students should expect the curriculum of a master's degree program in health information management to include courses in business, information technology (IT) and healthcare systems.
Most master's degree programs require applicants to possess a bachelor's degree; if this degree is not in a related field, the student will likely be asked to take additional courses prior to enrollment. Graduates typically seek jobs as healthcare information managers or directors.
Information and Requirements
A computer with Internet connection is the most basic technical requirement of such programs. Students receive coursework, submit assignments, participate in class discussions and communicate with instructors via the school's distance learning portal. Tools such as online chat rooms, message boards and e-mail are typically utilized in online classes. Depending on the number of credits taken per semester, completing a master's degree in health information management normally takes approximately 2-3 years. Graduates may be eligible to sit for the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam.
The program curriculum for a master's degree in health information management is comprised of several different, yet related types of courses. Students can expect to learn about data analysis, strategic management, database administration and various IT-related topics.
This course focuses on the history and usage of informatics as it relates to healthcare administration. Students learn methods of obtaining necessary financial and clinical information, accurately analyzing and processing data, and reporting findings to the appropriate parties.
This is an introductory course; the curriculum provides a broad overview of information technology. As the class progresses, the unique requirements of healthcare IT security are discussed. Methods of information storage, retrieval and processing are presented. Students complete this course with the knowledge to design an effective security system with intrusion detection awareness.
Theories and methods of database administration are taught in this class. Students learn about the lifecycle stages of database applications, current technology trends and other related topics.
This class introduces and analyzes various healthcare models and systems. Other related topics of discussion includes health policy, case management and the overall impact healthcare systems can have on a given population's health. Strategies to improve or influence existing healthcare systems are also provided.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the average annual income of medical and health services managers was $106,070 in May 2015. The BLS also projected a 17% growth in career opportunities for health services managers over the 2014-2024 period.
There are no known online programs in health information management that lead to doctoral degrees. However, graduates of a master's degree program in health information management who wish to further their education by obtaining a Ph.D. may want to consider seeking a traditional, in-person doctoral program in this field. While still rare, these programs are continuing to gain popularity and becoming more prevalent in schools and universities throughout the United States.
As online Ph.D. programs in healthcare information management do not exist, a student can instead enroll in a master's degree program in this field either online or in a hybrid format with coursework that focuses on topics like IT security, data management and healthcare security.