How to Get a Masters in Health Information Management

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Earning a Master’s Degree in Health Information Management (HIM) will help you to meet the booming demand in the healthcare system for IT professionals. This type of master’s degree will examine the best practices of IT management in a healthcare setting, so that you will develop the skills to implement the best health care business strategies.

Health information is the data that includes a patient’s medical history, such as symptoms, diagnoses, procedures and outcomes. It also includes patient history, results of lab tests, X-rays, notes and more. The health information for a patient can be viewed as a whole by various medical professionals to see how his or her health has changed.

In the modern era, it is common for patients to be seen by many medical professionals, meaning that the patient’s health information and data must be shared. It is very important that this data be kept private and secure. That is where a highly trained health information management professional is so important. With a master’s degree in this field, you will develop the health information management skills needed to keep data secure, accurate and sharable.

The Master’s in Health Information Management focuses on specific issues that IT managers identify as the most challenging aspects in the IT sector in health care. Some of the skills you will learn include:

  • Communicating effectively with healthcare technology stakeholders
  • Integrate healthcare technology solutions, aligning them with strategic business goals
  • Manage the most complex health care enterprise technology systems
  • Manage risk mitigation in a healthcare enterprise system
  • Evaluate healthcare data to create new business intelligence and modeling of data that drives effective decision making

There are similarities between a program in Health Information Management and Health Informatics (HI), but also there are key differences.

Health information management refers to the framework that is utilized to manage health data, and the exchange of that information digitally. Professionals who work in health information technology are more focused on the technical aspects of managing healthcare information. This includes working with hardware and software that is used for the management and storage of patient data.

Health informatics defines how health information is captured, transmitted and utilized. It is focused on information systems, informatics principles, and IT as it is applied to the delivery of healthcare services.

3 Online No GRE Options for Master’s of Health Information Management

Walden University

Walden University offers a Master of Science in Health Informatics that will position you as a potential leader to make needed changes in our nation’s healthcare system.

Recent national legislation has put a major investment into the country’s health information technology infrastructure. This is leading to a higher demand for health informatics and health information professionals. By some estimates, the number of new jobs in this field will increase by 20% by 2024. This master’s degree will put you in line for an exciting and thriving health information career.

This program will show you how to use electronic data effectively so that the quality and efficiency of healthcare services can be improved. You will be able to build on your existing level of healthcare experience, and to develop the additional skills needed to excel in health informatics management. Students in this two year, fully online program learn how to cut healthcare costs, boost patient access to needed care, and improve healthcare outcomes.

More Info

  • Campus: Online
  • Type: For Profit
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association
  • Per Credit Hour: $835
  • GRE Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial Aid
  • Request Info: Walden University

Northwestern University

Northwestern University offers a new Master of Science in Health Informatics that is offered through a partnership with the university’s Feinberg School of Medicine. This master’s degree prepares students for a multitude of opportunities in healthcare information management.

Students will learn how to leverage a variety of technology tools and data to produce more patient centered healthcare services delivery. This will lead to better population health, and also will help students to develop skills in change leadership and project management.

Students in this two year, online master’s program come from many backgrounds, and they have three specializations they may choose. They are clinical informatics, health technology informatics and health administration informatics.

For students who focus on clinical informatics, this program will prepare them to be board certified in medical informatics.

The program requires the completion of 12 courses to obtain your degree. Students are required to complete five core classes and a leadership course, as well as a capstone.

Program goals are:

  • Learn how to assess and anticipate health informatics needs from technical, clinical and operational points of view
  • Learn how to create a vision to use information to improve safety, quality and efficiency of patient centered care
  • Be able to nurture your leadership skills so that you can handle the many challenges that are part of of health informatics

Required courses include the following:

  • American Health Care System
  • Fundamental Health Informatics
  • Legal, Ethical and Social Issues
  • Foundations of Leadership
  • Introduction to Data and Analytics
  • Telecommunication Networks
  • Decision Support Systems
  • Health Care Enterprise Operations
  • HIT Integration, Interoperability and Standards

More Info

  • Campus: Online
  • Type: Non Profit
  • Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA)
  • Per Credit Hour: $3,726 per class
  • GRE Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • School Site: |Tuition | Financial Aid

The College of St. Scholastica

This university offers a Master of Science in Health Information Management. It is structured to help to advance your career, and to provide a path into this growing field for those who have a bachelor’s in another field. The program stresses high quality healthcare data as the major foundation for optimal organizational development and knowledge management systems.

This program is offered in a 100% distance learning format, so that professionals may continue to work full time.

The College of St. Scholastica founded the first health information management program in the US in 1935. Since that time, this university has been a leader in education in the HIM field.

Outcomes for graduates of this online master’s program are:

  • Acquire knowledge and skills in healthcare data, information and the management of healthcare knowledge
  • Be able to evaluate, select and implement healthcare information to drive decision making in healthcare, including clinical and administrative decisions and strategic planning
  • Develop leadership skills so that you can help to establish an organizational culture in your work that uses confidential information ethically
  • Introduce proper change management as you lead your organization toward using health information technology appropriately
  • Learn effective communication skills and strategies in working with other healthcare and information professionals
  • Become qualified for challenging and well paid administrative positions in healthcare organizations

Required courses in this master’s program include:

  • IT Management Ethics
  • IT Project Management
  • Develop Clinical Info Systems
  • Database Methods
  • Healthcare Data Analytics
  • Medical Vocabulary and Classification Systems
  • Strategic Management in Health
  • Methods of Healthcare Monitoring, Evaluation and Research

More Info

  • Campus: Online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association, Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
  • Per Credit Hour: $590
  • GRE Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • School Site:|Tuition | Financial Aid

Basic Description of a Master’s of Health Information Management

A Master’s of Health Information Management with no GRE requirement is mostly concerned with the organization and management of patient data that is contained in medical records. Professionals with this advanced degree are usually work on coding health information for the proper reimbursement from health insurance, and also ensure compliance with all government regulations that govern patient data.

Earning your master’s degree in HIM means that you will focus most of your graduate curriculum on medical records management, billing and coding, as well as regulatory mandates. A master’s program in this field will revolve heavily around IT knowledge, particularly electronic health record data. Also, you will need to have familiarity with common medical terminology and anatomy.

Differences Between HIM and HI

A master’s in health information management is similar to a master’s in health informatics (HI). The major difference is that HIM focuses more on the IT processes that are essential to store and retrieve patient data, and to comply with regulations. HI has more of a focus on applied technology by utilizing information management and IT to improve the quality of patient care.

HI also has less emphasis on coding, billing and regulations, and more on information analysis, organization and knowledge of system infrastructures. More programming knowledge also is required in health informatics.

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The Department of Health Informatics and Information Management offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Health Informatics and Information Management as well as a post-baccalaureate certificate in Health Informatics and Information Management. Health Information is one of the fastest growing professions in the country based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the American Health Information Management Association, there are more than 120 different job titles that health information professionals hold demonstrating the wide range of skills and opportunities for the health information professional.

Where Can Master’s in Health Information Management Candidates Find Work After They Graduate?

Health information management is one of the quickest-growing health occupations in the country. With a master’s degree in health information management, you will have many exciting job possibilities available to you, such as:

  • HIM Director
  • Coding Manager
  • Health Information Manager
  • Patient Information Director
  • HIM Project Manager
  • HIM Systems Manager
  • Data Quality Manager
  • Information Security Officer
  • Privacy Officer
  • Regional HIM Director
  • Compliance Officer

Common work settings for this field include:

  • Doctors’ group offices
  • Consulting firms
  • Long term care facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Insurance companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • IT companies with a health focus

The most common type of occupation for people with this master’s degree is medical and health services manager. These may be referred to in some organizations as healthcare executives or healthcare administrators. They are responsible for planning, directing and coordinating all types of healthcare and medical services.

Medical and health services managers may be responsible for managing an entire healthcare facility, or possibly the healthcare information portion of that facility. Some also may manage the health information department for a large group of doctors in a medical practice. It is very important for medical and health services managers to stay current on all new laws and regulations pertaining to healthcare data and information.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that all medical and health services managers, including HIM and HI master’s holders, will see a 17% increase in employment by 2024. It also reports that the median salary in this field is $96,540.

Payscale.com reports that the top salary for the field of health information management is $102,000 per year, with a low end for associate’s and bachelor’s holders of $39,500. The average salary for health information managers at Indeed.com is $65,000. A director of health information management can earn an average of $112,000.

Additional Resources:

Sady Brown
Written by Sady Brown
Sady Brown is Editorial Strategist for Nogre.com