FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
About the Program
Q. What is health informatics?
A. 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.
Q. What are the details of the MS HIIM program?
A. 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.
Q. Is the program offered on campus or on-line?
A. The MS HIIM program can be taken completely on-line, on campus or as a hybrid combining the two modes of learning. Students should choose the format that fits their schedule best.
Q. What type of computer programming skills do I need to be admitted into the program?
A. It is recommended that applicants have familiarity with the JAVA programming language.
Q. Do I need to be proficient in computer programming in order to be successful in the program?
A. The purpose of the MS in HIIM is not to train programmers, but to educate health informatics and information management professionals on aspects of integrating computing and information technologies with health care.
The requirement of either previous computer programming experience or a JAVA programming course varies according to the different options of the program. For example, the internship and thesis options both have a strong focus on health informatics. As a result previous computer programming training or experience will be important for students to succeed in those options. One course, SENG 6230 Software Engineering Foundations expects students to have previous programming experiences using Java language.
On the other hand, the RHIA option does not require the same level of previous computer course work and /or experience as the internship and thesis options. As a result, a previous course in computer applications will be sufficient for students to be successful in that option.
Q. What if I do not have any computer programming experience?
A. It is recommended that applicants take CSCI 2310/2311 Algorithmic Problem Solving and Programming Laboratory. This course is generally offered in the Spring Semester at East Carolina University.
Q. What are the degree requirements and curriculum for MS in HIIM?
A. The MS in HIIM is a 48 sh degree consisting of 36 s.h. of core courses and 12 s.h. of concentration courses from one of the following options: 1.non-thesis - students complete a clinical internship 2. thesis - students complete a research thesis under the guidance of a faculty mentor 3. registered health information administrator (RHIA) - students take courses that allow them to be eligible to take the RHIA examination.
Individual course descriptions with the prefix COHE, BIOS, MIS, CSCI, and SENG can be found HERE.
The curriculum is designed based on standards published by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM).
Q. I have a RHIT credential and 2 year degree in Health Information Technology from a community college. How can I further my study to be eligible for the RHIA exam?
A. The RHIA option of the MS in HIIM curriculum will allow graduates to be eligible for the RHIA credential. Associate degree holders can apply for the BS in Health Services Management program and then apply for the Master Program. All prerequisite undergraduate courses for the RHIA option are taught in our undergraduate HSM program in the department.All courses in both undergraduate and graduate programs are taught online.