Due to both internal and external forces, the healthcare industry has dramatically increased its reliance on technology in the delivery of patient care. Internally, healthcare administrators are finding it necessary to employ technology to manage resources and deliver patient care in an effective and efficient manner while ensuring quality. Simultaneously, organizations must maintain information systems that allow them to be responsive to the growing demands from external forces for accountability and transparency. Third-party payers, governmental agencies, patient advocacy groups, accreditation agencies and patients themselves are among those external forces demanding that healthcare organizations improve their abilities to collect, utilize and share healthcare information in a meaningful manner, which will ameliorate some of the challenges facing the industry today. As health care organizations strive to respond to the imminent regulatory changes brought on by ONC's mission and pressures from external forces, the employment of knowledgeable health informatics workforce will be essential and critical.
What is Health Informatics?
Health informatics (also called Health Information Systems, health care informatics, healthcare informatics, medical informatics, nursing informatics, clinical informatics, or biomedical informatics) is a discipline at the intersection of information science, computer science, and health care. It deals with the resources, devices, and methods required to optimize the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of information in health and biomedicine. Health informatics tools include not only computers but also clinical guidelines, formal medical terminologies, and information and communication systems. It is applied to the areas of nursing, clinical care, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, occupational therapy, and (bio)medical research.
Prospective students would come from a variety of education backgrounds, including, but not limited to, health information management, nursing, radiology, patient financial services, health care government agencies, clinical and administrative decision support, computing services, and pharmacy. Employment opportunities upon completion would include a variety of challenging prospects, including, hospitals, clinics, health information exchanges, elevated managerial roles, system development, project management, electronic health record system specialists, clinical decision support, database administrators, clinical documentation specialists, and consultants.
As the health care industry evolves, under vastly expanding regulatory mandates, there is a need for information systems that will meet the needs of all stakeholders and, the need to educate health informatics professionals will steadily increase. The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) boasts a membership of over 4000 members dedicated to advancing the healthcare industry through the deployment and diffusion of technology into the health care process. Crosby highlights the Bureau of Labor Statistics in an article posted on AMIA’s website that projects a need for more than 50,000 new health IT workers in the next five to seven years. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the job outlook for Health Service Managers to increase at a rate of 22% between 2010-2020. The average salary for baccalaureate workers in March of 2010 was $84,270 (http://www.bls.gov). The current marketplace is witnessing a growing trend for master’s level education in healthcare management, in particular within informatics. Salary increases should rise with escalating educational demands.
Our purpose is to prepare our graduates to be competent health informatics professionals through excellence in instruction, project execution, advisement, and mentoring with an emphasis of global service. The Masters of Health Informatics program is designed for the working professional.
Program Advisor and Contact Information
Debbie Hamada, MA, RHIA
Program Director: Master of Science in Health Informatics
Health Informatics and Information Management Dept.
Loma Linda University
School of Allied Health Professions
Dept of Health Informatics and Information Management
Nichol Hall A1905
Loma Linda CA 92350
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