Hospital information management programs encompass the study of information technology databases used to record, maintain, and secure access to healthcare information. Students may find bachelor of science (B.S.) degree programs in health information management and master of science (M.S.) degree programs in health informatics. The minimum educational prerequisite for entry into an undergraduate program is a high school diploma or GED. Many of these programs require students complete courses in basic computer skills, anatomy, statistics, and medical terminology prior to entry. Applicants to a master's degree program in health informatics should have completed an undergraduate degree program and specific introductory coursework. Professional technical experience is also necessary to qualify for admission to a graduate program. Master's programs may also require completion of a thesis project.
Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
The Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management is an interdisciplinary degree program that combines medical, legal, and financial topics with computers and management. Students are introduced to medical records coding, computer databases and programming, and analysis for maintaining patient health history and insurance. Additional course topics may include:
- Data analysis principles
- Medical and legal aspects
- Management of health data
- Classification and reimbursement
- Health information research methods
Master of Science in Health Informatics
Master of Science in Health Informatics programs focus on computer systems and databases related to healthcare or healthcare research. It's common for these graduate programs to have either a research or course-only track. Research tracks require students to complete a thesis project. Students enrolled in a graduate degree program in health informatics encounter courses in healthcare systems, and database management and design. Students on a research track might be introduced to topics in IT database systems in biomedical and genomic research. Listed are courses that might be found in this degree program:
- Healthcare IT systems
- Systems design and analysis
- Informatics security
- Management of healthcare IT
- Legal and ethical issues in informatics
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment outlook for medical records and health information technicians is projected to have much-faster-than-average growth from 2014 through 2024. While these employees are often found in hospitals, they can also work in physicians' offices, private consulting firms, government agencies, and nursing care centers. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for professionals in the field was $37,110 in May 2015, although the majority earned yearly salaries ranging from $24,190-$61,400.
Individuals with an interest in health care and information technology may be interested in getting a bachelor of science degree in health information management or a master of science degree in health informatics. These degrees will help you prepare for a career as a medical records and health information technician.