As the health care landscape continues to evolve, technology is transforming how health care professionals approach their work. The adoption of health informatics—a growing field that combines computer science, business and information technology principles—enables health care professionals to make data-informed decisions that improve personal and public health.
Health informatics jobs span employment sectors, including health systems, consulting firms, government agencies and academic institutions. Health informatics professionals use data analysis skill sets to support many projects: electronic health records management, health policy development and compliance, to name a few.
While some entry-level health informatics jobs require a bachelor’s degree only, a master’s can provide aspiring health care leaders a competitive edge and lead to more-advanced opportunities. Health informatics master’s programs, like the University of Pittsburgh’s part-time Online MS in Health Informatics (MSHI), enable busy professionals to continue in their jobs as they gain the technical and soft skills they need to communicate data-driven insights to health care industry stakeholders.
Why Customize Your Health Informatics Master’s?
Health informatics’ multidisciplinary approach broadens professionals’ career options, making it easier to find work suiting their interests and skills. By choosing a specialty, MSHI students can gain a considerable advantage in steering their career trajectories. At Pitt, students can choose from four health informatics program tracks and four certificates, summarized below.
MSHI Academic Tracks
Pitt’s online MSHI program offers four academic tracks: Data Science, General Health Informatics, Health Care Supervision and Management, and Health Services Analytics. Each track consists of 21 to 24 required credit hours and 12 to 15 elective credit hours (36 credit hours total). Students can fulfill the 12-credit elective requirement by adding a certificate.
The Data Science track equips students to analyze, extract and present data. Students gain a solid foundation in data analysis and machine learning, positioning them to manage large, complex datasets. They learn how to communicate critical insights and help health care executives and providers improve processes, financial performance and patient outcomes.
This track prepares graduates for health informatics leadership roles, including chief information officer, chief data officer and chief analytics officer, among other executive functions. It can also lead to careers as a data analyst, database developer or medical informaticist.
The General Health Informatics track trains students to analyze, design and evaluate health information technologies and systems. Through required and elective coursework, students develop the skills needed to perform data analytics projects that can improve health care quality and reduce costs.
This track readies students for various professions, including electronic health record implementation specialist, systems analyst and health IT project manager.
Health Care Supervision and Management
The Health Care Supervision and Management (HSM) track equips students for administrative and supervisory roles in all health care settings, including acute care, long-term care and rehabilitation facilities.
With a focus on organizational and leadership development along with health care management, this track teaches students to execute change in complex health care environments. Upon graduation, they will have the interdisciplinary skill set needed to work with diverse teams, lead day-to-day operations, and impact organizational culture.
Health Services Analytics
The Health Services Analytics (HSA) track helps students build their knowledge of the clinical, fiscal, administrative, ethical and legal requirements of health care institutions. Students learn how to analyze, design, implement and evaluate health information systems to provide data for patient care, research, quality improvement and more. After completing this track, graduates are prepared to work in such areas as such clinical informatics, software development and research.
The University of Pittsburgh’s Online MSHI program offers four specialized health informatics certification options: Health Data Analytics, Health Information Cybersecurity, Leadership in Health Informatics, and Revenue Cycle Management. Each certificate requires students to complete four 3-credit courses (12 credits total) over two academic terms.
If all courses in the certificate are covered in a selected track, two additional courses are needed to fulfill the certificate requirement. Students may also opt to complete their health informatics certification first and then pursue their MSHI degree.
Health Data Analytics
The Health Data Analytics certificate teaches students practical skills central to the intersection of health and technology. Students master Python, a versatile programming language tailored for the health informatics sector. They also gain expertise in database design, big data analytics and machine learning. Students who earn this certificate can pursue jobs in areas such as data science, clinical informatics and medical information management.
Health Information Cybersecurity
A certificate in Health Information Cybersecurity provides an opportunity to explore the intricate dynamics of security, privacy and legal concerns specific to health care IT. It also covers emerging health technologies and their transformative impact on patient care. Practical statistics and programming coursework empowers students to harness data and analyze the latest trends. With this certificate, graduates can pursue professions in health data security, health care system management and health data analysis.
Leadership in Health Informatics
The Leadership in Health Informatics certificate provides students a foundation in health care administration and management principles. Students gain insight into the structure and function of health care delivery, preparing them to navigate the complex health care ecosystem.
Coursework touches on project management, financial management and human resources. When students finish their certificate requirements, they can pursue careers as health care administrators, project managers and human resource specialists.
Revenue Cycle Management
A Revenue Cycle Management certification examines the intersection of health care, information management and finance. Students gain skills in categorizing and interpreting medical data with detailed accuracy, a foundational skill in the era of electronic health records and interoperable systems. Students also learn how to analyze and optimize the financial processes in health care delivery from patient registration to final billing. Career paths include medical coding, health care financial management and revenue cycle analysis.
Why Choose Pitt for Your Online MSHI?
The University of Pittsburgh’s online MSHI offers students the freedom to pursue a track and certificate combination best suited to their career goals. The Pitt MSHI focuses on the key competencies needed to expand your career as data-driven health care professional, in just 16-24 months. Program highlights include:
- An interdisciplinary focus: The program focuses on the convergence of health care, business management and technology.
- A hands-on, data-driven approach: Students learn to translate information into actionable insights that can improve patient care.
- Flexible learning paths: Students can tailor their education to their unique career aspirations with both part-time and full-time options.
- A comprehensive curriculum: The 36-credit curriculum encompasses subjects from anatomy to data science in health informatics.
- A distinguished faculty: Made up of notable thought leaders in health informatics, Pitt MSHI faculty members are committed to actively mentoring their students.
Pitt’s MS in Health Informatics is more than a qualification; it’s a pathway to becoming an agile, informed leader in health care.