New Master of Healthcare Informatics Program Launched

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Chatham University offers a new Master of Healthcare Informatics (MHI) blending healthcare and technology through a fully online professional program designed for working adults in a health related field, including IT, or business arenas.

As defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, health informatics is the interdisciplinary study of the design, development, adoption, and application of IT-based innovations in healthcare services delivery, management, and planning.

Because one of the primary goals of the Affordable Care Act is to improve healthcare through technology, healthcare informatics are playing a primary role in the roll out of the reform measures, according to Chatham. As healthcare continues to evolve and change with a new administration, this is one area of healthcare that’s unlikely to change. For example, the Affordable Care Act has mandated participation in the value-based purchasing programs for both physicians and hospitals, thus requiring hospitals to reduce avoidable readmissions.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, management salaries for Health Services Managers, of which informatics management positions are a part, average $94,500 with employment of medical and health services managers projected to grow 17 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

As of 2015, the overall average salary for health IT professionals was $111,387.52, according to an annual compensation survey by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. The average salary for IT professionals across all industries was much lower, at $85,460 according to glassdoor.com.

Further, BestMedicalDegrees.com cited health information managers as number 10 in its list of 50 Top Paying Healthcare Careers, noting that government regulations contained in the 2012 Affordable Care Act requires healthcare providers to integrate, interoperable electronic health records opening job opportunities for qualified, masters prepared Health Information Managers. Positions in HI and HIM include: Clinical data analysis, application analysis, health information management, information technology consultant, clinical informatics manager and chief information officer. U.S. News and World Report estimates the median salary range for clinical data analysts at $55,000 to about $95,000 for clinical informatics managers.

“Today, healthcare Informatics plays a critical role within every healthcare organization, facility or profession,” said Debra M. Wolf, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN, Healthcare Informatics Coordinator. “By leveraging technology, data and the wisdom of health professionals, decision-making can be strengthened, influencing how individuals are treated ultimately advancing the level of quality care people receive.”The MHI is an excellent credential to advance the careers of those currently working as:

  • Respiratory therapists
  • Social workers
  • Physicians
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Physician Assistant
  • Nutritionists
  • Business personnel
  • Human resources staff
  • Administrative managers
  • Laboratory staff
  • Radiology technicians/staff
  • Accounting/financial managers
  • Information technology analysts, managers, software developers, etc.
  • Nurses of all specialties

While there are many opportunities available in corporate and clinical settings, informatics also offers the ability to improve healthcare on a wider scale, such as through developing or managing public health information or surveillance programs, and helping to monitor, control, and prevent the occurrence of diseases across the globe.

The Chatham University Healthcare Informatics Masters program is a 10-course, fully online program, where courses build on one another, amplifying students’ mastery of technological and managerial skills. The program culminates in a health informatics immersion, carried out under the guidance of an external mentor in the field of informatics.

The program is designed to support the needs of working adults and includes small classes taught by an engaged faculty and subject matter experts working in the field of healthcare informatics.  Employees of many organizations are eligible for an automatic 20 percent discount on tuition.

Graduates of the Healthcare Informatics program will find a demand for their expertise in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, private healthcare practices, software companies, healthcare consulting companies, bio-pharmaceutical companies, medical device/medical technology companies, public health organizations, government and non-governmental agencies, healthcare associations, insurance companies and research laboratories.

“Evidence-based practice is a standard that’s being applied to all facets of healthcare,” added Dr. Wolf.  “Healthcare Informatics combines technology and information to compile this evidence and use it to make the best clinical or organizational decisions possible.”

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