Master of Science
The School of Informatics offers a Master of Science in Health Informatics to address needs arising from the rapidly changing health care environment. Research and educational programs in medical, nursing, and health informatics are growing at a rapid rate nationally. This can be attributed in large part to the increasing complexity and importance of health care reimbursement, which has created a need for improved classification, storage, and analysis of medical information to establish the best clinical practice and cost efficiency.
Users of health informatics include clinicians, researchers, health care educators, health organization administrators, health policy analysts, health information administrators, quality improvement directors, and chief information officers. Those who are professionally involved in health informatics work in a variety of settings, including acute care hospitals, managed care organizations, consulting firms, claims and reimbursement organizations, accounting firms, home health care agencies, long-term care facilities, corrections facilities, pharmaceutical companies, behavioral health organizations, insurance companies, state and federal health care agencies, and health computing industries.
Informatics is uniquely suited to conduct graduate education in health informatics through its health schools, research centers, and affiliated academic units. The School of Medicine has a long history of fellowship training and research in medical informatics. The School of Nursing, which is the largest in the country, is in the forefront in the development of nursing informatics, with a particular emphasis on consumer health informatics. The School of Library and Information Science offers master's and doctoral degrees in information science, which are distinguished by their sociotechnical orientation.
The school also has a broad research thrust exploring the interconnection of social, behavioral, and technological issues associated with the use of information and communication technologies. Faculty in the department is externally funded to conduct research in medical informatics and bioinformatics. Other academic programs in public health, applied health sciences, and hospital administration offer important supporting course work.
To receive the Master of Science in Health Informatics, students must complete 36 credit hours of prescribed courses. In addition to core courses, students choose, in consultation with advisors, a set of concentration electives. Examples of concentration areas include 1) knowledge-based health care information, 2) health services informatics, and 3) clinical databases.
Knowledge-based health care information focuses on the storage, organization, evaluation, and dissemination of health and medical knowledge (e.g., textbooks, journals, other media, and information) to support evidence-based practice and patient education. End-users of knowledge-based health care information include clinicians, patients, health educators, and health planners.
Health services informatics focuses on information management in health care systems and addresses such diverse needs as patient flow, resource allocation, billing, and compiling and reporting of data. This involves developing information systems for processing and storing clinical data, complying with medical documentation requirements of accrediting and governmental agencies, and setting health information policies.
Clinical databases focuses on the storage of medical data and linkage of electronic systems. Study in this concentration is based on an electronic medical record system, which includes existing standards and coding, links between health-related databases, and data extraction for clinical care and management. Research is oriented to using such databases to learn more about disease and health maintenance (e.g., clinical epidemiology, pharmacoepidemiology, public health informatics, and nursing informatics).
All students applying for the M.S. in Health Informatics should have prerequisite courses or equivalencies in the following areas:
Anatomy, biology, or physiology (200 level or higher); Computer Science; Medical Terminology; Statistics
NOTE: Remediated courses are available through the School of Informatics:
Clinical Care for Health Informaticians
Web Database Concepts
To receive a Master of Science degree in Health Informatics, the applicant must be admitted as a graduate student and complete 36 credit hours including: 18 credit hours in informatics core courses, 3 credit hours in seminar courses and 9- 12 credit hours of electives. The students have the option of taking 6 credit hours towards a thesis project or 3 credit hours towards a Capstone Project.
Informatics Core Courses (18 credit hours)
- INFO I501: Introduction to Informatics
- INFO I511: Laboratory Information Management Systems
- INFO I530: Foundations of Health Informatics
- INFO I535: Clinical Information Systems
- INFO I575: Informatics Research Design*
- INFO I581: Health Informatics Standards and Terminology
- GRAD G651: Introduction to Biostatistics
Required Seminar Courses (3 credit hours)
- INFO I530: Seminar in Health Informatics I
Sample Electives (9 - 12 credit hours)
- INFO I503: Social Aspects of Information Technology
- INFO I505: Informatics Project Management
- INFO I512: Scientific Data Management
- INFO I578: Data Analysis for Clinical and Administrative Decision Making
- NURS I635: Consumer Health Informatics
- INFO I643: Natural Language Processing
- INFO I642: Clinical Decision Systems
- INFO I641: Business of Health Informatics
Thesis/Capstone Project (3 - 6 credit hours)
- INFO I691: Health Informatics Project (3 cr.)
- INFO I691: Thesis (6 cr.)
NOTE: *Students planning to take INFO 691 project option must take INFO 505 instead of INFO 575
Project/Thesis (6 cr.)
As a capstone experience, students will complete either a project, planned in conjunction with their advisor, or a researched-based thesis, supervised by a research advisor and a thesis committee. Core and support faculty from the participating schools will have a wide range of research interests that will provide graduate students with choices relevant to their concentration areas.