Master of Science in Health Informatics

Health Informatics focuses on the use of information systems to facilitate the healthcare system.

Health Informatics professionals understand the relationship between information technology, people, health, and the healthcare system.

The Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI) helps bridge the long-standing gap between the medical and administrative knowledge possessed by healthcare personnel and the information technology knowledge possessed by technologists.

Health Informatics Diagram

A career in Health Informatics offers a way to combine two very strong interests: information systems and care, focusing on the business and information systems behind the healthcare system.

Health Informatics professionals must keep current in computer and software technology as well as in all federal and state laws that regulate the use and security of electronic patient records. They are expected to stay up-to-date in clinical guidelines and medical terminology. In addition, Health Informatics professionals are also tasked with keeping patient, hospital, and practitioner data secure and accurate.

The Health Informatics major is designed to enable graduates to enter careers in information systems usage in healthcare organizations. Information systems play an increasingly important role in the burgeoning healthcare field. The Health Informatics degree is intended to develop the skills necessary to manage information systems in a healthcare environment.

Health care poses very unique and challenging obstacles to Informatics. The protection of confidential patient information, the complexity of health information models, the changing health landscape, and the required adherence to governmental initiatives, all create external forces that must be managed to ensure the successful implementation of health solutions.

If you want to use your Informatics knowledge to truly make a difference in other people's lives, Health Informatics is the major for you!

Demand

Patient privacy regulations, combined with the rapid growth of both medical knowledge and technology, have increased demand for Health Informatics professionals qualified to lead industry change. In the 2013 HIMSS Workforce Survey both vendors and healthcare provider respondents identified the availability of qualified workers as the most significant barrier in meeting their staff needs. The Health Informatics field is becoming increasingly crucial for helping healthcare organizations store, retrieve, and process medical data in today’s digital age.

With the 2010 enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Federal Government mandate that every U.S. citizen have an electronic health record (EHR) by 2015, together with the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) via the associated Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, and the requirement by the federal government that each state develop a Health Information Exchange in order to become part of a vast electronic national health information infrastructure, the Health Informatics job growth rate will undoubtedly only continue to increase. Here are some key facts from The HIT Workforce Shortage:

  • 67 percent of hospitals report shortages of Health Informatics (HI) staffing.
  • While cost is still a major problem, hospital executives report that lack of staff is now a bigger barrier to implementing HI.
  • Hospitals indicate they need staff in the areas of clinical software implementation and support, and health information professionals say they need clinical application support, network/architecture support and clinical informatics.
  • The federal government made $19.2 billion available to physicians and hospitals in 2009 under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act to help them set up electronic health records (EHRs).
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 21 percent increase in the employment of medical records and health information technologists between 2010 and 2020.
  • A 38 percent increase in workforce is needed to achieve sufficient levels of HI professionals.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that Health Informatics jobs will grow by 23 percent between 2012 and 2022, making Health Informatics one of the fastest-growing occupations. It is expected that as the field develops due to health-related initiatives and mandates that the federal government established in 2009, the need for Health Informatics professionals will grow at an even faster rate.

Professionals who understand the relationship between information technology, people, health, and the healthcare system are in short supply and high demand. The lack of people with appropriate education and training in Health Informatics continues to be a major problem. Idaho State University’s interdisciplinary programs in Health Informatics will provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to use information technology to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes—and to advance their career in this growing field.

Advising

Advising for the Master of Science in Health Informatics will be coordinated by the Graduate Advisor of Health Informatics, Dr. Nima Kordzadeh, in BA 533 or at kordnima@isu.edu. Admissions inquiries can be directed to the Director of Graduate Studies in BA 510.

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Why Should You Get an MSHI?

In a nutshell, because of a fantastic job market and excellent salaries!

A recent survey of HI leaders shows that about 67 % of healthcare providers face an IT skill shortage. Patient privacy regulations, combined with the rapid growth of both medical knowledge and technology, have increased demand for Health Informatics professionals qualified to lead industry change. With the 2010 enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Federal Government mandate that every U.S. citizen have an electronic health record (EHR) by 2015, together with the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) via the associated Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, and the requirement by the federal government that each state develop a Health Information Exchange in order to become part of a vast electronic national health information infrastructure, the Health Informatics job growth rate is projected to increase by 23 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The recently released 2015 Health Information Management and Systems Society Compensation Survey reports that average salary for HI workers in executive, management and other professional positions topped $111,000 in 2015.