What is a Master’s in Health Informatics and What Does It Mean For You2018-08-23T17:26:43+00:00

What is a Master in Health Informatics (MHI)?

The data revolution has arrived in the health care field. With the advancement of the digital realm, cloud storage and interconnectivity of devices, health care professionals, including physician and nurses, can access data in real time that are critical to helping improve patient outcomes.

Students enrolled online Master’s Degree in Health Informatics learn to analyze huge amounts of data collected through electronic medical records, smartphones and other applications. They translate their findings, analyze the information, and make recommendations to help improve health care delivery and patient outcomes. Health informatics specialists partner with health information technology and health information management experts to organize and deliver the data.

They might also be responsible for overseeing a healthcare organization’s medical records management, to ensure compliance with patient privacy laws, while also sharing information among a patient’s healthcare providers.

What to Expect During Your MHI Degree Program

During the standard two-year program, students can acquire a wide range of skills related to technology, including how to leverage the MHI to improve health care delivery locally or abroad. Not only will you acquire diverse tech-related skills, but you’ll also learn about the health care industry. You may be expected to participate in a practicum to complete the program.

The online MHI is ideal for health professionals who want to advance or move into a job that employs advanced information technology or for information technology workers who’d like to move into the health care industry. Individuals with an MHI degree will prepare for a greater demand for health care informatics professionals.

Some of the demand is driven by the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for electronic health records and meaningful use of patient data, which added efficiency to collaborative patient care and decision-making. Greater efficiency, cost savings and better patient outcomes are encouraging further technology solutions to make even greater strides in patient outcomes.

What Does Health Informatics Do

Digital technology has made many healthcare procedures more efficient, patient information more accessible, and the ability to make treatment decisions easier. These recent improvements are changing the business of health care and spurring on greater technological advancements.

If you — or your family — have questioned, “What is an MHI?” the content here will help you answer that question. During your online MHI, you’ll have the ability to learn how to use information technology and data science, and how they apply to health care (clinical informatics). You might also study data analysis, elements of computer science, health care management principles and how to work with health care professionals, such as clinicians, biomedical scientists and other technology and data informatics professionals.

Along with required coursework, most programs allow you to focus on one specialty area. Here are some of the key areas of focus in a master in health informatics program:

The Internet of Things for Healthcare

The Internet of Things or IoT is leading the digital transformation of health care. It offers the next level of symptom tracking with monitoring apps, devices such as smart watches and technology-enabled wearables. This allows more efficient, around-the-clock monitoring while freeing doctors, nurses and other practitioners to perform other functions, which improves productivity.

It also improves collaborative disease management and care coordination. Today, a nurse can measure vital signs and record them using a tablet. The information is immediately updated in the electronic health record (EHR), and with advanced analytics the app can provide a potential diagnosis based on a patient’s history and their current vital signs.

And, specialists who are also treating the patient will have an updated record to access during the patient’s next appointment. A doctor’s analysis, decision-making time and collaborative treatment time is cut short with the technology related to the IoT in healthcare.

In addition to care delivery, the technology related to IoT will change the way health care organizations conduct their business, enabling greater efficiencies in all work processes which will contribute to cost containment and a better patient experience.

Predictive Analytics

What is an online master’s degree in health informatics without predictive analytics? Predictive analytics is the scientific process of transforming current and historical patient, population and other health care data into usable knowledge to help improve care, public health and safety.

The benefit to this process is the ability to predict a future health care crisis for an individual, community, nation or globally, and develop action plans to reduce the impact of the crisis or mitigate it completely.

Project Management

Adoption and integrating new technology into business or clinical processes so it works as intended requires a project leader who understands technological advancements and how informatics can be applied to a health care environment. After earning an online MHI degree with a focus on project management, you may be able to land a position with a health network to manage the integration of new informatics resources.

Business Analysis

You may wonder, “What is a Master’s Degree in Health Informatics and how does it apply to business analytics?” The Internet of Things (IoT) has not only improved treatment and patient outcomes, but it also improves operational efficiencies and aid in containing costs.

Medical devices can provide continuous vital sign monitoring and alert the patient or health care practitioner when a problem arises, reducing the time nurses and doctors are required to spend with each patient while quickly signaling when there’s a problem. This translates into fewer employees needed to oversee a practice, reducing cost and improving efficiencies.

For hospitals, wearables and apps can lead to decreased time in the hospital and fewer readmissions. Patients who are discharged with a non-threatening condition could receive a wearable device so nurses can continue to monitor their progress. Any adjustments to vital signs will be analyzed by the device and a practitioner, a phone call rather than a hospital visit can take care of the situation, which reduces hospital time and prevent a readmission.

The financial implications are significant for a large hospital or health network. A skilled MHI graduate with a business analyst focus can help their employee accurately project revenue, overhead and how adding greater technological advances will improve the financial health of the institution.

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