Online master's in health informatics and information management
You want to stay competitive in your field. With a master’s degree in health informatics and information management, you can set yourself apart. And we'll be here to guide you from enrollment through graduation.
Digitization, electronic health records, and big data are just a few of the many factors leading to the rapid growth of the health information industry — and the increasing number of job opportunities for qualified professionals. Earning a master’s degree in health informatics and information management can set you up for an innovative, growing career.
What is a master’s degree in health informatics and information management?
This is a graduate-level degree that can prepare you for a career in the dynamic health information industry. This type of degree draws on a variety of academic disciplines, with the ultimate aim of collecting and using data in a way that promotes the highest level of patient care and the optimal delivery of health care services.
As explained by the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), “health informatics applies principles of computer and information science to the advancement of life sciences research, health professions education, public health, and patient care. This multidisciplinary and integrative field focuses on health information technologies (HIT), and involves the computer, cognitive, and social sciences.”
An online master's in health informatics can help you gain the necessary skills to take on a variety of responsibilities, from developing statistical models to ensuring the accuracy of diagnostic coding.
What’s the difference between health informatics and information management?
The fields of health informatics and health information management are often grouped together — and some master’s degree programs address both disciplines. However, there are key differences to note.
Health informatics is an applied information technology field that is rooted in computer and data science. It can be considered as a cross between health services and information technology and is often a back-of-house activity in the health care sector. In contrast, information management is typically a client-facing activity related to medical coding, billing, and records management. Professionals responsible for information management often use the systems and applications developed by health informatics experts.
Depending on your background and career goals, you may choose to focus on one or the other. If you possess a strong computer science background, an online master's in health informatics could align well with your experience. If you’re more interested in health care administration and operations, a focus on information management could be more suitable.
Given the relationship between the two disciplines, a combined master’s in health informatics and information management can offer a more holistic perspective and well-rounded curriculum that prepares you to enter the health information workforce from any angle.
What does a master's in health informatics and information management focus on?
Health informatics and information management curricula will feature courses that cover a range of subject areas, including:
Patient data storage
Health care data analytics
Ethics in health informatics
To thrive in the health information sector, you’ll need a combination of soft and specialized skills. Roles in this industry are becoming increasingly hybridized. As a result, employers are seeking job candidates with specific medical knowledge as well as digital and technical proficiencies.
The right online master's in health informatics program should allow you to develop expertise in the following areas:
Health informatics and information management
Given the nature of many careers in information management and health informatics, you’ll need to become familiar with a variety of technical competencies. The top skills in this area include:
Medical billing and coding, especially coding with quality and accuracy
Familiarity with the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision (ICD-10)
Medical documentation and abstraction abilities
Medical records scanning skills
Ability to develop and implement a clinical documentation improvement program
Understanding of health care procedures and regulations
Patient care assessment skills
Data science and software
A strong theoretical and practical foundation in data science will help you tackle a variety of tasks in health informatics and information management roles. The most frequently sought types of data science knowledge and related software skills include:
Statistical analysis, including software like R and SAS
Scripting, including languages like Python
Programming, including languages like SQL
Data visualization, including tools like Tableau
Data analysis, including programs like Alteryx
Productivity tools including Microsoft Office
Clinical information systems and technology skills
Health care leadership
If you want to progress to a medical and health service management position, it will help to cultivate a variety of leadership skills. Employers frequently seek candidates with experience or abilities in the following areas:
Management of employee relations and engagement
Staff training and onboarding
Ability to measure and assess key performance indicators
Additional soft skills
Be sure not to overlook the importance of baseline skills. Most employers will expect you to demonstrate some combination of the following soft skills, which are often critical to success in advanced positions in the health information industry:
Teamwork and collaboration
Depending on the core curriculum of your chosen master’s degree program, you may have the opportunity to take electives while studying for your master's in health information management online. These electives can help expand the scope of your expertise in topics related to information management and health informatics, such as:
When you consider how a master’s degree in health informatics and information management will factor into your professional and personal life, one of the most important decisions you can make is to decide whether to apply to online or on-campus programs. Here are some questions that can help you determine the right option for you:
Generally yes — the course content you’ll be presented through an online program in health informatics and information management will be quite similar to, if not the same as, what you’d see in an on-campus program. As an online student you can expect to receive the same high quality of education as your on-campus peers, though curricular details will vary from one institution to another. The main difference will be the way that this course content is delivered.
You will be able to access course content through an online portal, meaning you can conveniently study from anywhere, at any time. Your instructors will populate the learning portal — your virtual classroom — with video lectures, discussion boards, and online assignments. Classes may be held synchronously or asynchronously, and many programs are conducted 100% online.
No, the word “online” will not appear on a diploma you earn from an online master’s degree. It will simply state your degree name and other basic identifying details. After graduating, your credentials and diploma will carry the same clout as one earned through a traditional campus-based program.
How long will earning my master's in health informatics and information management take?
Most master’s programs in health informatics and information management are designed so you can earn your degree in as few as two years if you study full time.
However, many online master's in health informatics degree programs allow flexible and part-time study, meaning you can spread out the course requirements over four or more years. This can be a great choice if you’re interested in earning an advanced degree while pursuing other personal and professional obligations, such as a full-time job related to your field of study.
Health informatics and information management jobs
A master’s in health informatics and information management can prepare you for a range of career options, from entry-level jobs to advanced roles and management positions. Here are some of the top positions in the health information sector:
Clinical data coordinator
Electronic medical records specialist
Manager of health information management
Health information manager
Clinical documentation specialist
Clinical data systems analyst
Director of health information management
Clinical data specialist
Manager of clinical data management
Clinical data manager
Clinical data systems consultant
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups many of these roles under the umbrella of medical and health service managers. Professionals in this occupation earned a median salary of $100,980 in 2019. Earners in the 10th percentile made less than $58,820, while those in the 90th percentile saw earnings over $189,000.
Job outlook for health informatics and information management graduates
The dynamic field of medical and health services management is expected to grow at a rate of 32% between 2019 and 2029 in the U.S. This is significantly higher than the 4% national growth rate across all occupations. Aspiring professionals will likely see roughly 133,200 new jobs created in the field by 2029.
Employers are currently finding success in hiring low-skilled workers for entry-level roles in this field. However, they are reportedly having difficulty locating highly skilled workers with the expertise to take on management and non-management roles alike across the health information industry. Some management roles take nearly 50 days to fill, suggesting a shortage of qualified job candidates.
By starting your graduate studies in health informatics and information management now, you’ll be able to gain in-demand skills that may give you access to more employment opportunities than ever before.
You have goals. We have a path.
As the health information industry expands and changes, employers will lean heavily on educated, qualified professionals who possess a broad range of advanced competencies and skills.
As the world’s learning company, we proudly partner with universities to offer a suite of online graduate degrees in health informatics and information management. Whatever your career goals are, we have a path for you.