Online Master of Science in Health Informatics

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36 Credits

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4 Tracks

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4 Certificates

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16 to 24 Months to Complete

*The estimated time to complete your degree depends upon the number of credit hours taken each semester.

Program Overview

Overview

Our Master of Science in Health Informatics program, delivered online through the Department of Health Information Management at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, enables professionals from all over the country to earn the advanced education they need to expand their career opportunities at the intersection of health care, business management and technology. The program can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis depending on your educational and professional needs.

In addition to the online program, Pitt SHRS also offers the MS program and certificates in an on-campus format.

Tracks

Students pursuing the online master’s in Health Informatics can choose from four tracks and four additional certificate options:

Data Science

The Data Science track provides students with the tools to analyze, extract and present data to the health care community. With these skills, graduates can help health care organizations make well informed data-driven decisions.

The Data Science Track will:

  • Teach you how to extract information from large and complex datasets, visualize it and communicate it to C-suite executives and health care providers alike.
  • Enable you to help health care systems and organizations with performance improvement, especially in relation to quality measurement, patient outcomes and financial performance.

The Data Science Track is for:

  • Professionals who want to learn data analysis (pattern identification, hypothesis testing, risk assessment) and prediction (machine learning models that predict the likelihood of an event occurring in the future, based on known variables).
  • Those who want to manage large databases with multiple types of data from different sources.
  • Those who want to use data from multiple sources to guide their decision-making.

Potential Career Paths through the Data Science Track:

  • Chief Information Officers, Chief Data Officers, Chief Analytics Officers, Chief Medical Information Officers, Chief Medical Officers, Chief Research Officers, Chief Quality Officers, Chief Actuaries
  • Directors and Managers of Data and Analytics, Data Warehousing, Data Governance, Business Intelligence, Population Health, Clinical Research, Clinical Informatics, Clinical Decision Support, Financial Analytics, Process Improvement, Operations, Precision Medicine
  • Data Analysts, Data Architects, Data Scientists, Data Stewards, Data Integration Architects
  • Statistical Analysts, Medical Informaticists, Actuaries
  • Database and Data Warehouse Developers, Administrators, Architects
  • Health IT System Developers

 

General Health Informatics

The Health Informatics (HI) track prepares students for the evaluation and management of health information technologies and systems. Graduates of this track analyze, design and evaluate health information systems. They may also perform data analytics projects to improve the quality of health care and reduce the cost of health care services.
 

Health Care Supervision and Management

Health Care Supervision and Management (HSM), a track in the Master of Science in Health Informatics program, provides students an opportunity to acquire advanced skills in administration and supervisory management in all health care settings including acute care, long-term care, and rehabilitation. Students in this track will focus on organizational and leadership development in combination with health care management. With these skills, graduates can implement their leadership and business acumen to enact change in a complex and dynamic health care landscape.

The HSM Track will:

  • Help professionals in any health-related area advance into administrative, manager or team leader positions in various health care settings.
  • Enable graduates to develop the interpersonal and interdisciplinary skills needed to work alongside multiple people and teams throughout the health care organization and take on leadership roles.
  • Prepare professionals to effectively lead teams and impact organizational culture.

The HSM Track is for:

  • Professionals looking to develop leadership skills to advance within their field.
  • Anyone whose goals include leading and supervising teams or departments, from any background (related or not).
  • Individuals who communicate across multiple teams and levels of an organization and aspire to lead decision making and day-to-day operations.
  • Those who seek to impact organizational culture through supervising others and managing operational units.

Potential Career Paths through the HSM Track:

Job opportunities exist in continuum of care delivery organizations as well as non patient care settings:

  • Project team leader
  • Clinical analysts
  • Data analysts
  • Financial analysts
  • Reimbursement analysts
  • Systems analysts
  • EHR implementation specialists
  • Consultants
  • Product managers

 

Health Services Analytics

The Health Services Analytics (HSA) track prepares students responsible for the development and management of health information systems consistent with the clinical, fiscal, administrative, ethical, and legal requirements of healthcare institutions. Graduates of this program analyze, design, implement, and evaluate health information systems. As members of the healthcare team, they interact with other healthcare professionals and administrators, and provide healthcare data for patient care, research, quality improvement, strategic planning, reimbursement, and related analytics and managerial functions.

Certificates

Students in the MS in Health Informatics program may earn one of the four certificates while completing the HI program by taking courses listed in the certificate program. If all courses in the requested certificate are covered by the track, the student needs to take at least two additional courses to fulfill the requirement of the requested certificate.

Students who complete a certificate program and want to continue to pursue the MSHI program may transfer at most 6 credits from the certificate program to the MSHI program.

Certificate in Health Data Analytics (12 credits)

  • HI 2020 – Practical Statistics and Programming Using Python & R (3 credits – required)
  • HI 2451 – Database Design and Big Data Analytics (3 credits – required)
  • HI 2454 – Data Science in Health Informatics (3 credits – required)
  • HI 2453 – Data Analytics and Machine Learning in Health Science (3 credits – required)

 

Certificate in Health Information Cybersecurity (12 credits)

  • HI 2450 – Security, Privacy, Legal & Ethical Issues in Health IT (3 credits – required)
  • HI 2210 – Health Information and the Health Care System (3 credits – required)
  • HI 2452 – Digital Health (3 credits – required)
  • HI 2020 – Practical Statistics and Programming Using Python & R (3 credits – recommended elective) or
  • HI 2650 – Practical Research and Evaluation Methods (3 credits – recommended elective)

 

Certificate in Leadership in Health Informatics (12 credits)

  • HI 2210 – Health Information and the Health Care System (3 credits – required)
  • HI 2632 – Leadership and Project Management (3 credits – required)
  • HI 2231 – Talent Management and Human Resources (3 credits – required)
  • HI 2230 – Financial Management and Health Care Reimbursement (3 credits – recommended elective)

 

Certificate in Revenue Cycle Management (12 credits)

  • HI 2210 – Health Information and the Health Care System (3 credits – required)
  • HI 2410 – Health Vocabulary, Terminology & Classification Systems (3 credits – required)
  • HI 2230 – Financial Management and Health Care Reimbursement (3 credits – required)
  • HI 2452 – Digital Health (3 credits – recommended elective)

Courses

This course covers multiple topics, including an introduction to the structure of human cells, tissues, organs and organ systems, and functions associated with them; a general overview of the predisposing factors and direct causes of disease, as well as their effects on the human body; an introduction to pharmacology; and word construction, pronunciation, spelling, definition and use of terms related to all areas of medical science, hospital service, and health related professions.

This course provides an introduction to statistical methods and computer programming in R that are essential for data scientists. This course covers practical statistics from the perspective of data science in health care and how to apply various statistical methods to data analytics projects. In addition, this course introduces the most widely used statistical programming tools in data science: R. Prior experience in R is not expected in this course, however, familiarity with basic statistics concepts and modern programming language will be very useful. The approach of this course is practical, hands-on and project oriented.

This course is an introduction to Python for students in health informatics. It aims to provide students with an understanding of the modern computer programming and to help students learn how to use computer programs to solve real-world problems in health sciences. Students will be guided to write Python programs to process multiple types of data in health informatics, such as electronic health records, clinical data, and clinical texts. In addition, this course practices basic concepts and applications of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing in health care using Python. The approach of this course is practical, hands-on and project oriented.

This course aims to evaluate the reference terminologies that are currently used in health care settings (SNOMED-CT, LOINC) as well as applications of data capture technologies (such as natural language processing, voice recognition, and document imaging). Further, the course intends to introduce students to computer-assisted coding technology applications and evaluate the use of health care terminologies, vocabularies, and classification systems found both nationally and internationally. A more focused review on format, guidelines, and application for ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, and HCPCS/CPT will take place. Students will utilize online coding tools to obtain hands-on practice with each of these three systems.

This course will introduce the student to the health care system and health information management as well as the integrity of the health data that is used by health care organizations. It will also introduce the student to the importance of the quality of health care and health information and the need for risk management and patient safety in health care organizations.

This course introduces health informatics, providing an overview of the important topics and a foundation for other courses in the master’s and certificate programs in health informatics. Students will learn what health informatics is, the challenges in health informatics, and the careers in the profession of health informatics. Students will be briefly introduced to important concepts in health informatics including computing and networking in health informatics, digital health, data analytics, machine learning, data science, health technology intervention, electronic health record, health care standards, privacy and security, bioinformatics, and digital imaging.

This course is a practical guide to human resource management in health care and covers topics such as recruitment, compensation and benefits, training, discipline, termination, legal issues, labor unions, and multi-human interactions that emerge in the workplace. It is also an overview of the laws and regulations that guide every decision related to managing people in the complex society in which we exist today.

Leadership and Project Management is a course designed to introduce and develop leadership behaviors as well as manage the project management process. The goal of this course is to advance the capabilities in meeting current health care organizations’ challenges through both leader and leadership development. It is not intended to provide a background on the evolution of thought on leadership or leadership theory. The course takes a developmental – not training – approach by providing a leadership development framework that helps guide one in acquiring the characteristics and behaviors associated with good leadership. This course will study how technology, people, and economics of software projects interact and the impact these elements have on managing software projects.

This is an introductory course to data science. Data sources, types, collection methods, processing and analysis methods, and analysis result interpretation will be covered in this course. Students will learn these skills by finishing several assigned projects. By finishing the course, students will have the skills to analyze various types of data sets using different methods and have the ability to interpret the meaning of the results.

This course is designed for students who want to learn data analytics and machine learning, as well as their applications in health science. Data analytics tools and methods, machine learning procedures and tools, and their applications in health science will be discussed in this course. Students who finish this course should be able to use statistical and machine learning methods and tools to analyze various types of data sets in health science, as well as make predictions and recommendations according to the obtained results.

This course introduces key principles of financial management and reimbursement in the health care industry. The aim is to provide an understanding of financial and reimbursement language, concepts, and processes to enhance the daily management performance of current and future leaders in health care.

Students will be offered tools to develop a working knowledge of financial statements, dashboard metrics, and industry financial issues. Students will learn reimbursement methodologies, health care compliance regulations, and tools for managing all aspects of the revenue cycle. Course modules and exercises offer insight into the development of operational budgets, understanding financial trends and variances, developing financial negotiating strategy, quantifying productivity, interpreting reimbursement analytics, ensuring compliance, understanding health care reimbursement, and managing the revenue cycle.

The ability to capture, organize, and analyze data is critical to health care organizations and to biomedical research. Database is arguably the most important tool in supporting data capture, organization, and analysis of outcomes, both for regular and transactional data as well as big data. This course will provide students with opportunities to learn data and big data management skills, including principles in database and approaches to manage data, as well as offer a place to discuss and analyze key issues in data management. The course will have two sections. The first section will emphasize the theoretical and technical aspects of database, specifically in data modeling, design of database, as well as learning the “language” to manage database. The second section will address advanced topics in database and big data, including transforming data, data warehousing and data mining, and analysis and visualization of data.

The advancement of informatics in health has allowed a convergence of digital technologies with health and health care, with the goal of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of health services as well as making medicines more personalized and precise. These technologies include solutions for both health care providers and patients, ranging from electronic health records, telemedicine, mobile health, wearable devices, as well as many emerging Internet-of-Things devices and sensors. Interventions through digital health require a multidisciplinary domain team involving both informatics and social sciences. This course will provide students with opportunities to explore; analyze, and discuss key issues, principles (both from technical and social science perspectives), approaches, and policies surrounding digital health. The final assignment of this course will task students to work with key health service stakeholders (who will share their knowledge throughout the course as well) to investigate and propose a practical digital health solution to tackle a specific health issue.

The ability to measure and describe issues in health informatics is vital in the process of decision-making in health care. The process of evaluation itself depends on the questions and the contexts in which the issue arises. This course will study the methods of evaluation in health informatics, specifically the practical application of well-established research and evaluation techniques to problems in health informatics. Different situations in health care will necessitate the use of different evaluation methods, therefore in this course, students will be exposed to approaches to develop measurement instruments, design studies, analyze results, as well as present the results of the study in health informatics evaluations. Case studies will be used to facilitate active learning, including conducting usability evaluation and cost evaluation of health informatics resources. By the end of the course, students will be able to develop a working evaluation “contract,” which can be used to guide the evaluation process as well as to validate the result of the evaluation process itself (that the result is indeed what the stakeholders want and need to know to make a decision).

Supervised practical experience or capstone project providing an opportunity for students to apply previously learned skills and theories in the field of health informatics.

Independent study provides students an opportunity to explore, in depth, an area of particular interest to them. It is the student’s responsibility to find a faculty member willing to undertake such a tutorial.

Learning Outcomes

MSHI graduates stand out as applied health informaticians who can immediately apply their knowledge through modern technologies and critical thinking skills to:

Effectively Communicate

Effectively communicate with health industry stakeholders (including administrators, clinicians, governmental/regulatory bodies, health care workforce, IT, patients, payers, providers, researchers, and suppliers/vendors) by interpreting and exemplifying ideas through technical and industry-specific language.

Proactively Identify Needs

Proactively identify needs and opportunities through a variety of techniques related to access, care, clinical outcomes, cost, patient satisfaction and engagement, and quality in the health care system.

Leverage Technical Knowledge

Leverage technical knowledge and skills and industry best practices to propose creative technology-based informatics solutions–such as databases and IT infrastructures–to improve patient care.

Support Clinical Decisions

Support clinical and health care business decision-making through the use of data analytics and research; exhibiting an ability to collect, analyze, and interpret results and a familiarity with analytical tools.

Lead Working Groups

Lead working groups and organizations through the use of appropriate oral and written communication, peer collaboration, and project management.

Grow and Adapt

Grow and adapt with a rapidly evolving industry through a combination of continuing education, research and professional development.

Early Application Deadline: February 20

Meet Our Faculty

SHRS faculty are committed to developing the next generation of master’s-trained health informatics professionals regionally, nationally and internationally. Our expert faculty are renowned nationally and globally in the field of health informatics and seek to act as mentors to their students. Outside of the classroom, MSHI faculty are thought leaders at the forefront of innovation in the industry and are helping to shape the future of health informatics.

A professional headshot of Patricia Anania-Firouzan, University of Pittsburgh SHRS faculty member

Patricia Anania-Firouzan, MSIS, RHIA

Assistant Professor

patti@pitt.edu
412-383-6656

A professional headshot of Dilhari DeAlmeida, University of Pittsburgh SHRS faculty member

Dilhari DeAlmeida, PhD, RHIA

Associate Professor

drd7@pitt.edu
412-383-6753

A professional headshot of Bambang Parmanto, University of Pittsburgh SHRS faculty member

Bambang Parmanto, PhD

Professor and Chair, Department of Health Information Management

parmanto@pitt.edu
412-383-6649

A professional headshot of Kimberly Peterson, University of Pittsburgh SHRS faculty member

Kimberly Peterson, PhD, RHIA

Assistant Professor

kap141@pitt.edu
412-383-6648

A professional headshot of Andi Saptono, University of Pittsburgh SHRS faculty member

Andi Saptono, PhD

Assistant Professor

ans38@pitt.edu
412-383-5101

A professional headshot of Yanshan Wang, University of Pittsburgh SHRS faculty member

Yanshan Wang, PhD

FAMIA Vice Chair of Research and Assistant Professor
A professional headshot of Valerie Watzlaf, University of Pittsburgh SHRS faculty member

Valerie Watzlaf, MPH, PhD, RHIA

FAHIMA Associate Professor

valgeo@pitt.edu
412-383-6647

A professional headshot of Leming Zhou, University of Pittsburgh SHRS faculty member

Leming Zhou, PhD, DSc

MSHI Program Director, Associate Professor

lzhou1@pitt.edu
412-383-6653

A Career Path With Limitless Potential

Health informatics is an in-demand industry. The number of medical and health services manager jobs is expected to grow 32 percent by 2030*. Graduates of our online MS in Health Informatics program can expand their careers in a number of fields, including:

Leadership

Health informatics business analyst

Director of health informatics

Medical director of informatics quality and process improvement

Clinical informatics coordinator

Analytics

Health data scientist

Health informatics data analyst

Clinical informatics analyst

Clinical informatics specialist

Clinical informatics director

Chief medical information officer

Technology

Health informatics consultant

Systems analyst

EHR implementation specialist

Informatics analyst

Health IT project manager

Product manager

Privacy officer

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Alumni

Pitt MS in Health Informatics alumni have gone on to positions at the following organizations:

Healthcare Organizations

Allegheny Health Network
Loma Linda University Medical Center
OhioHealth
Pittsburgh VA Hospital
Premier Healthcare
UPMC
UPMC Enterprise - Data Quality
UPMC Magee
UPMC Revenue Cycle

Health Plans

Cigna
Gateway Health
Highmark
UPMC Health Plan

IT Companies

Epic Systems Corporation
HM Health Solutions
MRO Corporation
Omnicell

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

FAQ

Health informatics is a science that defines how health information is captured, transmitted, analyzed and utilized. It focuses on information systems, informatics principles and information technology as it is applied to the continuum of health care delivery. Health informatics professionals work with researchers, patients, health care providers and payers to collect, analyze and manage health data. This data can then be used to develop new health information technology, implement and manage electronic health records, analyze revenue cycles, improve quality and more.

The program can be completed anywhere between 16 to 24 months, depending on the number of classes you take each semester in a three-semester system at the University of Pittsburgh (fall, spring and summer). At a part-time pace of two classes per semester, students can complete the program in 24 months. At a full-time pace of four classes per semester, students can complete the program in as little as 16 months.

In short, no. However, your experience will likely be a determining factor in which track you should pursue. Overall, prospective students with a bachelor’s degree in any field can apply. Contact your enrollment advisor directly or request more information to further discuss your professional goals.

Health informatics is an in-demand industry. Graduates of our online MS in Health Informatics program can expand their careers in a number of fields including leadership, analytics and technology. Potential roles include: health data scientist, health informatics business analyst, clinical informatics coordinator, quality and process improvement director and health care consultant. Pitt MSHI alumni have secured positions at the following organizations:

Health Care Organizations

  • Allegheny Health Network
  • Loma Linda University Medical Center
  • OhioHealth
  • Pittsburgh VA Hospital
  • Premier Healthcare
  • UPMC
  • UPMC Enterprise - Data Quality
  • UPMC Magee
  • UPMC Revenue Cycle

Health Plans

  • Cigna
  • Gateway Health
  • Highmark
  • UPMC Health Plan

IT Companies

  • Epic Systems Corporation
  • HM Health Solutions
  • MRO Corporation
  • Omnicell

The median salary for a medical and health services manager is $101,340. This field is expected to grow 28% by 2031.*

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021

Yes! If you are an alumni or graduating senior, you may be eligible for the Pitt2Pitt program to help fund your Pitt master’s degree or certificate. Graduating seniors and recent alumni from all Pitt campuses are eligible to apply for $2,500 or $5,000 scholarships. Current students can also check out additional scholarship and funding opportunities. For external scholarships, we recommend the FastWeb scholarship search site. Contact an enrollment advisor for additional information.

There are no required campus visits. The program is 100% online.

Online students are offered the same resources as any on-campus student. To find out more, visit the Graduate and Professional Studies page.

University policy permits transfer of up to six graduate level credits into a graduate (MS) program. Equivalency to courses taught in the curriculum will be determined by health informatics faculty on a case-by-case basis.

This is really up to the individual and depends on what your professional and personal goals are. Do you already have a MS degree? Are you looking to gain knowledge of a new industry or acquire advanced skills in a specific discipline? A graduate certificate may be appropriate for you. A master’s degree is often pursued for similar reasons but it may be a requirement on a resume or needed to transition into a new field. Individuals should consider their own goals and background when weighing their decision. Please reach out to an enrollment advisor to discuss both options.

Each course will have an average of 60 minutes of live class sessions per week, typically held during weekday evenings. This class time may include lab sessions, live debates, presentations or breakout group discussions with fellow students. The health informatics faculty are flexible with the live sessions and are willing to work with you if you are unable to join the live session. All of the live sessions will be recorded.

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