Health Informatics Bachelor's Degree Programs
Get tips on selecting a health informatics degree program, and find out the courses typically offered in them. Learn about career and certification options in the field. Schools offering Health Informatics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Should I Look for in a Health Informatics Bachelor's Degree Program?
Health informatics - also known as medical or healthcare informatics - involves the use of technology to acquire, organize and analyze healthcare and biomedical data. While you can find some undergraduate programs in health informatics, schools are more likely to offer a degree in health information management at the baccalaureate level. This type of program covers traditional healthcare management concepts and provides a solid foundation in health informatics.
Look for a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Programs accredited by CAHIIM have been peer-reviewed and meet or exceed rigorous standards. They are designed to prepare you for the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) certification exam offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Earning this credential may lead to an increase in job opportunities in the field.
What Courses Will I Take?
You'll gain the information management skills necessary to support health professionals in direct patient care, organizational planning, information systems design, reimbursement for care and applied research. Some schools place more emphasis on health informatics instruction than others, but nearly all CAHIIM-accredited programs have the following courses in common:
- Current issues in healthcare delivery
- Legal concepts in health information management
- Coding and classification systems
- Quality assurance
- Computer systems in healthcare
- Electronic health records
- Health information systems analysis
- Health data management
Some schools offer more technical informatics electives, such as programming logic and design or event-driven programming. You'll probably need to complete general education requirements, like English composition or introductory psychology. A clinical practicum is usually mandatory.
Can I Earn This Degree Online?
There are many CAHIIM-accredited online programs. In this type of program, you'll view multimedia presentations, take tests and submit homework through an online class management system. You might interact with instructors and classmates via discussion boards, live chat sessions or e-mail. Online programs can be completed in as little as two years of full-time study.
What Can I Do With My Degree?
Entry-level job opportunities may be available in hospitals, clinics, physicians' practices, government agencies and insurance companies. Common areas of employment for health informatics and health information management specialists with a bachelor's degree include:
- Information systems analysis
- Diagnosis and procedure coding
- Quality improvement
- Healthcare consulting
- Compliance administration
- Pharmaceutical and medical equipment sales
You may want to consider pursuing a master's degree in health informatics. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a master's degree is preferred for most medical and health services management jobs (www.bls.gov). A 2008 AHIMA salary study found that health information professionals with master's degrees earned significantly higher salaries than those with only a bachelor's degree (www.ahima.org).
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: