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MS Degree in Health Informatics and Information Management

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. What is health informatics?
A. The Oxford English dictionary defines informatics as “a branch of study that deals with the structure, properties, and communication of information and with the means of storing or processing information.”  More specifically, Health Informatics is a discipline focused on the acquisition, storage, and use of information in healthcare when directly applied to patients or health individuals.  

Q. Why was the Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management created?
A. The Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management was created to meet shortages in the informatics workforce. 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, and technical positions.  

The objectives of the graduate program are as follows:

  1. Prepare more advanced health informatics and health information management professionals to meet the expanding needs of North Carolina.
  2. Train health informatics and health information management professionals competent who are competent in the knowledge-based, data driven health care environment.
  3. Develop individuals who are capable of leading the implementation of health information technologies to improve the quality of patient care.
  4. Provide continuing education opportunities for practicing health care providers and administrators, or information technology professionals.

Q. In what format is the program offered?
A. The Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management can be taken on-line, on campus or as a hybrid combining the two modes of learning.  Students should choose the format that best fits their schedule.

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 Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management is to prepare individuals to work as informaticians or as a manager of a group of informaticians.  Part of their role as manager may be to supervise a project that is developing a new computer application.  Having knowledge of the steps programmers take to create a new application will allow them to manage the project more effectively.

Q. What if an individual does not have any computer programming experience?
A.
 An individual may take a JAVA  course at a local community college, or they can take
 CSCI 2310/2311 Algorithmic Problem Solving and Programming Laboratory.  This course is generally offered during the Spring Semester at East Carolina University.  

Q. What are the degree and curriculum requirements for the Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management.
A. The Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management consists of ten three credit core classes, and nine credits from either the health informatics option or the thesis option. A total of 39 credits is needed to complete the degree program. The curriculum has been designed based on standards published by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM).

Q. I would like to achieve certification in the field of Health Information Management.  How can I achieve my goal while pursuing the Masters of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management.
A.
It is recommended that all individuals wishing to pursue the Registered Health Information Administrator credential (RHIA), apply to the Health Information Management Certificate program.  Students who achieve a GPA of 3.50 or higher in the program will have the GRE requirement waived when they apply to the Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management. 

Q. What are the minimum admission requirements for the Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management.
A.
The minimum admission requirements for the program are:

  1. An earned undergraduate degree from an accredited institution.
  2. Completion of the following prerequisite courses within five years of making application:
    1. Computer Programming (3 student hours minimum).
    2. Statistics (3 student hours minimum).
  3. An undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 or greater.
  4. Official GRE or GMAT scores.
  5. Three letters of recommendation.
  6. Resume.
  7. A statement of purpose outlining the goals for pursuing a graduate education in health informatics and information management.
  8. Official TOEFL or IELTS scores.
  9. Other criteria as required by the Graduate School.
  10. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
  11. The East Carolina University application for graduate admission form.

Q. How do I get started with the application process?
A.
Submit an application to the
Graduate School.

Q. How long will it take to complete a program?
A
. The Master's program can be completed in 2–2 ½  years for full-time students taking 3 courses per semester and who take courses during the summer terms. Part time students  taking 2 courses per semester may need 3-3 ½ years to complete the program of study.

Q. When should a student apply to the program?
A.
The application deadline for the fall semester is May 1.  The deadline for the spring semester is October 15.

Q. Can an individual enter the program as a part-time student?
A.
The program accepts part-time students. All degree requirements must be completed within six years of matriculation.

Q. Can an individual transfer credits into the program?  
A.
If you are accepted into the Master of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management, up to fifteen hours from the graduate certificate program can be transferred for credit in the MS HIIM program. Please, refer to the
ECU graduate school policy about transferring graduate level course work from other graduate level institutions.

Q. If an individual already has a bachelor’s degree in health information management, what is the advantage to obtaining a Master’s in Health Informatics and Information Management.
A.
It is common for the health information professional to hold either an associates or bachelor’s degree. Most informaticians, according to Dr. William Hersh (2009), have clinical degrees: MD, PharmD, MSN.  Therefore, if health information management professionals wish to be included at the informatics table, they must possess comparable credentials.

Q. How much is Tuition and Fees?
A.
Tuition and fee information can be found at: http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/financial_serv/cashier/tufee.cfm

Q. Is Financial Aid or Graduate Assistantships available?
A.
Financial Aid information can be found at: http://www.ecu.edu/financial/
Students accepted into the program can inquire within the department regarding graduate assistantships.

Q. What types of jobs are graduates eligible to apply for?
A.
Graduates from the program are eligible to apply for the following positions within a health care organization: Clinical Systems Specialist, Senior Systems Analyst, Interface Data Analyst, Director of Health Information Management (HIM), Lead Patient Care Informatics Specialist, Manager of Analytic Services, Health Information Management – Senior Application Specialist.

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

Graduates can also assume positions in government, education, and leadership roles in academic health information technology programs in 2 – year community colleges.



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