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MS, Health Informatics and Information Management



What is health informatics?

To understand health informatics, it is first necessary to understand the term informatics, which Hersh (2009) defines as: "the acquisition, storage and use of information."Health Informatics or the overarching term, Biomedical and Health Informatics (BMHI) as defined by Hersh (2009) is a field that makes "optimal use of information, often aided by the use of technology, to improve individual health, health care, public health, and biomedical research."A person who practices health informatics is commonly known as an informatician or informaticist.

The MS in HIIM at ECU is designed to help meet the needs of workforce training. In addition to learning the technical aspects of health care data and information management, students will learn how to develop strong management skills crucial for planning, designing, implementing and evaluating a variety of system-wide health information systems including electronic health records, clinical decision support systems as well as computerized provider order entry systems. The master of science in health informatics and information management prepares individuals for managerial, supervisory, executive, as well as other leadership positions in health information systems.

The objectives of the graduate program are as follows:

  • Prepare more advanced health informatics and health information management professionals to meet the expanding needs of North Carolina.
  • Train health informatics and health information management professionals competent in the knowledge-based, data driven health care environment.
  • Develop leaders capable of leading the implementation of health information technologies to add value to patient care.
  • Provide continuing education opportunities for practicing health care providers and administrators, or information technology professionals.

Why should someone with a bachelor's degree in health information management need a master's degree to practice health informatics?

It is common for the health information professional to hold either an associates or bachelor's degree. Most informaticians, according to Hersh (2009), have clinical degrees: M.D., Pharm. D., M.S.N. Therefore, if health information management professionals wish to be included at the informatics table, they need to possess comparable credentials.

A recent study shows clinical informatics skills are most important.  See graph below.

hiim graph

Source:  iHealthBeat, California HealthCare Foundation by The Advisory Board Company


American Health Information Management Association Career Map

Graduates of this program are eligible to compete for the following positions in health care: health information managers, quality improvement specialists,designers and planners for enterprise health information systems, health information security and privacy officers, and chief information officers for health care enterprises.

Graduates can also compete for positions in private sector organizations such as medical software companies, pharmaceutical firms, and health care consulting firms.

Moreover, our graduates can assume positions in government and education, training, and leadership roles in academic health information technology programs in 2 year community colleges.


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