Online health care informatics programs may lead to a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management or Health Care Informatics. These programs are fully online and open to qualified high-school graduates and those with associate degrees in health-related fields. Other online programs may lead to a Master of Science in Health Care Informatics, post-master's certificate or post-baccalaureate certificate. Students may need related professional experience or training for some programs.
Programs by Degree Level
An online bachelor's degree program in health care informatics requires a general education foundation, business courses such as cost accounting, and computer classes such as software applications and business data communications systems. These are combined with the following health-related courses:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Health care delivery systems
- Quality assessment methods of health care
An online master's degree program in the field provides more specialized study of information sources, storage, retrieval, and design as they apply to the field and will examine social, organizational and ethical issues related to health care information. Students may also take courses in the following areas:
- Systems analysis
- Health care information security
- Biomedical information sources
- Health data
- Communications skills
- Biomedical science
- Managing health care vendors
How Online Programs Work
Online health care informatics degree programs allow students to earn a bachelor's or master's degree without scheduled class times. Students in many online programs can access course materials on their computers 24 hours a day, which allows for more flexibility, but all students should expect to devote 15-20 hours per week to each 3-credit course. Instead of a traditional classroom environment, students engage in discussion forums, view posted presentations and take tests online and communicate with professors via e-mail. Prospective students should be fully informed about hardware and software requirements before enrolling.
Prerequisites and Admissions Information
Like traditional programs, online degree programs have entrance requirements such as transcripts from high school and, where appropriate, college and graduate school. Program applicants may also need a specified minimum GPA and demonstrated professional experience or training in related areas such as health care, IT, law or consulting.
Career Information for Graduates
Graduates of online health care informatics programs receive a diploma that is not labeled an 'online' degree or otherwise differentiated from a campus-based program and enter a job market with a high demand for professionals trained to handle the electronic storage of sensitive medical information. Those with master's degrees in the field may find teaching opportunities. Bachelor's or master's degree holders may be employed in the following economic sectors and industries:
- Other health care providers
- Insurance companies
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Government agencies
- Non-profit organizations
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reported that job opportunities for medical and health services managers, including those trained in informatics, were expected to grow by 17% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than the estimated national average for all occupations.
Students can earn a bachelor's degree, master's degree or graduate certificate in health care informatics through the flexibility of an online program. Graduates can expect a 17% growth in the field of medical and health services management, which includes positions in such settings as hospitals and government agencies.