(May 18, 2012)
East Carolina University will offer a new master’s degree program in health informatics and information management starting fall 2013.
The Department of Health Services and Information Management in the College of Allied Health Sciences recently received approval from the UNC Board of Governors for the program.
“We are extremely excited by this new degree program especially during a tough budget time,” said Dr. Xiaoming Zeng, chairman of health services and information management.
ECU’s will be the second health informatics graduate program offered in the UNC system. Dr. Paul Bell has been named director of the program.
“The main reason for training health information managers at the graduate level is to produce the leaders and experts in health informatics and information management,” Zeng said. “The health care system is moving towards digitization and interconnectivity. Professions with in-depth knowledge about the interfacing and interaction between information technologies and health care systems will be needed to facilitate the process of change and ensure the quality of care in the new and highly automated and connected environment.”
The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data projects a 22 percent growth rate for medical and health services managers, which includes health information managers charged with maintenance and security of patient records.
Some 40,000 health informatics professionals are needed nationwide by 2016 in order to meet predicted growth from the adoption of electronic health care record systems, according to a workforce study published by the American Medical Informatics Association.
Currently there are 202 health information management job vacancies in North Carolina, up from 157 vacancies just a year ago, according to recent data from the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, Zeng said.
ECU’s bachelor’s in health information management has been successfully training administrators in the field for many years, Zeng said. “Now it is time to train leaders and experts for health informatics and information management. Graduate level education is appropriate for such training,” he said.
ECU officials started the process in 2008 when the American Health Information Management Association set graduate education in health information management as one of its top priorities.
The master’s degree will replace the bachelor’s in health information management. Classes will be held on campus and online. A bachelor’s in health services management still will be offered, Zeng said.
For more information on the new program, email Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 252-744- 6171.