Online master's degree programs in health care informatics give students the information technology, medical and organizational behavioral knowledge necessary to help improve the delivery and usefulness of health information. Online health care informatics master's degree programs are designed so students can work at their own paces; on average, students graduate within 18 months to two years. Some programs may require students to occasionally visit the campus to complete capstone requirements. Students should also have access to a webcam to complete coursework.
These distance learning programs are offered through graduate schools at four-year universities and colleges. Professionals who already work in the healthcare industry may opt to enroll in an online graduate program to advance their knowledge and skill set for career enhancement purposes; however, many programs are open to those with no relevant work experience who are interested in working in the health care informatics field. All students must have an accredited bachelor's degree in order to be eligible for admission.
Master's Degree in Health Care Informatics
The requirements for online programs in this field are designed to mirror those of on-campus programs. As interdisciplinary online programs of study, master's degree programs in health care informatics blend clinical knowledge in information technology and computing skills. Distance learning classes are focused on providing students with the skills to help the health care industry move towards a digital, open network of health information that is easily accessible by the professionals who use it and mindful of patient privacy issues.
Information and Requirements
Students are often responsible for capstone experiences in which they investigate specific health informatics research questions. These projects may not have specific on-campus requirements, but could involve the need to conduct field research depending on the nature of the project. Students are usually paired with a faculty member that provide guidance on these comprehensive assignments.
Beyond thesis or research project work, distance learning master's degree programs in health care informatics typically require no on-site activities. Students retrieve lecture materials, watch videos and complete assignments within a school's virtual classroom environment. Video conferencing technology, course chat rooms and online discussion boards allow professors and students to interact.
List of Common Courses
The online curriculum for an M.S. degree in health care informatics typically includes:
- American health care system
- Decision support systems
- Ethical and legal issues in health care informatics
- Medical informatics
- Social and organizational issues in health care informatics
- System analysis and design for health care
Graduates with master's degrees in health care informatics are eligible for mid-level to executive-level positions in hospitals, medical offices, medical software companies, health care consulting firms and pharmaceutical companies. Job titles include information technology managers, systems analysts, information security officers and medical information consultants. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts much faster than average employment growth of 17% in the medical and health services management field in the 2014-2024 decade. In 2015, the BLS reported that health care managers earned a median salary of $94,500.
Coursework for master's degree programs in health care informatics can be completed entirely online. Typical graduate-level requirements, such as a thesis or capstone project, are still required, which might entail on-site field research.