What is health informatics?
Health informatics is a field that relates to the acquiring, storing, retrieving and using of healthcare information through communication and information technologies to foster better collaboration among patients' various healthcare stakeholders to deliver effective, efficient and sustainable healthcare services.
What is the projected employment growth in the field of health informatics?
The metropolitan Atlanta area has more than 200 health IT companies employing over 16,000 professionals (source: Metropolitan Atlanta Chamber of Commerce). Nationally, the demand for health informatics graduate degree holders grew by 50% between 2013 and 2015. Both local and national employers in Health Informatics demonstrate high demand for analytical skills. This growth rate has created a need for more qualified and well-trained professionals in this field.
What do people with Master's degrees in health informatics do related to employment?
Graduates will be able to pursue careers in the IT field as a business analyst or system requirements analyst working on the architecture of hospital systems, updating and monitoring health information systems, providing healthcare technology and related training, and managing health IT projects.
Graduates pursuing a career within a hospital setting will be able to work in multidisciplinary teams on a variety of technology development projects such as: analyzing and mitigating technology-based issues; training peers; managing medical records, IT governance, electronic medical record systems and coding systems; testing and monitoring new software applications within the healthcare facility; and supporting telemedicine initiatives.
Who should apply to this program?
Do you want to further you IT career and expand your expertise to health IT?
Is your organization planning, designing, or implementing a healthcare IT project?
Are you working in hospital or other clinical setting and want to change your career path?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then your goals match the outcomes of Mercer University's Master of Science in Health Informatics program.
When I finish this program, what will I be able to do?
A successful health Informatics graduate student will be able to competently:
- Use the professional skillsets required in the field of health informatics.
- Compare health data management applications and evaluate the impact of big-data on healthcare.
- Apply information technology such as electronic data interchange and clinical decision support systems to improve patient access to quality care through reduced healthcare costs.
- Evaluate and assist in developing, procuring and managing health informatics projects and solutions.
- Create healthcare software requirement specifications through the application of systems analysis and design concepts.
- Integrate health informatics toolsets to assure confidentiality, security and privacy within healthcare applications.
- Plan and manage an informatics project or plan and manage a telehealth project and apply technology-based solutions in public health.
How is this health informatics program different from programs in computer science, information systems, and analytics?
Mercer's M.S. in Health Informatics specifically addresses how information and telecommunication technology can best be applied to healthcare with a particular focus on technology use in telemedicine, electronic medical records, and health information systems.
Regarding the fully online nature of the program, how will it be delivered?
The classes will be fully synchronous online sessions that will be scheduled during evenings or weekends.
How is student engagement in learning ensured?
Students will be on a virtual face-to-face sessions that have a huge interaction component. Chat sessions/rooms would enable sharing their expertise and experience thus facilitating group learning environment and also provide a personal feel within the online environment.
How much student faculty interaction is there on line and what does it look like?
Student-faculty interaction happens every week during a course. Student-faculty interaction happens via different mechanisms such as synchronous video class sessions, chat sessions, and student presentations via live video during class sessions. Asynchronous interactions are also used, for example in discussion boards, emails, and written feedback on student work.
How much student-to-student interaction is there online and what does it look like?
Nearly one third of the learning happens through student-student interaction during synchronous class meetings and group work, and asynchronous peer review and group work. Synchronous sessions include a number of question-answer exercises where each student brings to bear their experience and knowledge on course topics. Group work includes online video discussion of students' answers and also commenting, critiquing, and adding to those answers. Asynchronous discussion boards will assist students to conduct thorough research on the topics under study where students will post their developing ideas and receive feedback from class colleagues.
How do we help ensure student success and how are students oriented to the program and its online environment?
The courses will be built around the concept of student success through:
- Knowledge of student backgrounds and experience in the workplace
- Adherence to explicit and measurable student learning outcomes
- Providing student assessments and feedback
- Providing the big picture of course outline at the very beginning to ensure that students do not have surprises
- Building students' confidence and provide support mechanisms for self-directed learning
- Helping students to plan their study schedule
- Connecting with their peers, through email and discussion board forums
How many courses are required to complete this program?
The program requires 10 courses (a total of 30 credit hours) to be completed for graduation. All courses are 8 weeks in duration.
How much time will I need to complete this program?
Full-time students who enroll with 9 credits per semester can complete the program in 3 semesters, with one Summer term enrollment. Part-time students who enroll with 6 credits per semester can complete the program in 4 semesters, with two Summer term enrollments.
When can I apply?
There are two entry points to the program, one at the beginning of each Fall and Spring semesters.
What are the application requirements?
There is no GRE or other qualifying exam required for entry to this program. Applicants should have at least one year of work experience in a clinical setting or an information technology related field. We require a recommendation letter from a supervisor or manager who is familiar with the your work performance, experience, and roles and responsibilities within the organization. Before final admittance, we will ask you to complete a formal interview, online or face-to-face, with department faculty.
Other graduate admissions requirements include: an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, minimum overall undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 on all work attempted, two official transcripts (translated if they are not in English) from each college or university attended, official scores on the TOEFL/IELTS if English is not your native language, and a non-refundable application fee of $35.