Overview of Certificate Programs in Healthcare Informatics
The field of healthcare informatics involves designing and using technological applications to improve patient care. Prospective students interested in advancing as administrative professionals in healthcare can find fully online graduate certificate programs in the field. These programs offer an in-depth introduction to how information technology is used in managing health-related data in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient care clinics, and public health agencies.
While master's degrees in the field are available, graduate certificate programs offer a faster path to gaining an advanced understanding of the challenges facing medical professionals as computing technology continues to evolve and impact the healthcare industry. Applicants need to hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, and some programs require a minimum GPA. Other application materials may include personal statements and letters of recommendation.
Healthcare Informatics Certificate Requirements
Online healthcare informatics certificate programs usually require approximately four courses or 12-16 credit hours, and students may be able to apply credits earned while pursuing the certificate toward a related master's degree. By the time they complete these certificates, students should gain an understanding of the U. S. healthcare system, the types of data used in healthcare organizations, how data is stored and accessed, and how to address challenges to data management.
Introduction to Healthcare Informatics
Introductory classes cover typical health information management applications, such as Electronic Health Records, and communication processes. They may also examine the historical progression of data management within healthcare and specific topics like the processing and management of medical images.
Managing Health Data
Courses in health data management introduce students to computer architecture and information assurance topics relevant to healthcare informatics. Students might also learn about database management, data mining, and data warehousing. Specific topics may include SQL queries, cloud databases, and online analytic processing.
Electronic Medical Records
Certificate programs typically allow students to explore common Electronic Health Records systems used by both clinicians and administrators. Records classes cover how these applications function along with the benefits they offer and their associated challenges, including security issues and the complexity of the data they manage.
Information Technology in Biomedicine
These certificate programs may include foundational coursework in information technology, particularly for students who have limited prior experience in the field. Such courses introduce students to the role of information technology in American healthcare organizations and provide an overview of key concepts like operating systems, common software applications, and security concerns. Information technology classes may include case studies on how health informatics impact medical decisions.
Career Outlook for Healthcare Informatics Certificate Holders
Graduates of online healthcare informatics certificate programs can pursue careers as medical records and health information technicians and related positions within healthcare. According the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for medical records technicians was $44,010 as of May 2018. Employment in the field was expected to grow at a fast rate of 11% between 2018 and 2028.
These certificate programs can also prepare graduates for management-level careers in positions related to health informatics. For instance, they may be prepared to work as computer and information systems managers. This field was also predicted to see strong job growth, with an 11% increase projected by the BLS between 2018 and 2028. The mean annual salary for these managers was $152,860 as of May 2018.
Certificate programs in healthcare informatics grant students advanced instruction in how health information is managed through information technology and what challenges are associated with management systems. These programs typically require a short series of fully online courses on health data, electronic records, IT software and applications, and related subjects.