Government statistics reveal that millions of new jobs will be created in the next decade. With the millions of new jobs that are going to be available, there will be millions of new patients, and a massive amount of patient data and health information to track.
Some of the new jobs that will be available will certainly be in health information technology. Health information is all of the data that has to do with the patient’s medical history, symptoms, diagnoses, outcomes and procedures. All of this health information has to be managed, and this involves a very good grasp of both the healthcare field and computer technology.
Health information technology specifically refers to the framework that a healthcare facility uses to manage large amounts of patient information. Professionals in this field are largely focused on the technical aspects of managing the health data. This involves managing software and hardware to store the information.
You can increase your marketability and qualifications for health information technology management positions by earning your master’s degree in health information technology. With this advanced degree, you will learn advanced skills in health information management. This includes learning how to acquire, analyze and protect both digital and written medical information that is needed to provide care to patients.
Some of the jobs that you can work in with a graduate degree in health information technology include:
- Computer and Information Systems Manager:This professional may be referred to as an information technology manager or IT project manager. In a healthcare environment, this worker will plan, coordinate and direct all computer and software related activities. They will supervise efforts to determine what types of new information technology are needed to process and store healthcare patient data. They also will plan and direct any installation and maintenance of computer hardware and software needed to handle patient data.
- Computer and Information Research Scientist: These IT professionals design and invent new ways to handle and store patient information in healthcare related computer systems. They spend most of their time studying and solving complicated problems regarding the storage and handling of large amounts of data. In the healthcare arena, data security is of particularly high concern. These workers must create, improve and maintain complex systems that store information and tell computers what to do with certain data.
- Medical and Health Services Manager: These managers may be referred to as health care administrators. They must plan, direct and coordinate all types of medical and health care services. Depending upon the organization, this type of manager may be responsible for managing the information technology systems for the healthcare organization. They could be managing an entire department’s or facility’s information technology, or even an entire health care system’s networks.
Why Earn a Master’s Degree in Health Information Technology?
The healthcare field is growing at a very rapid pace. With the aging US population, longer life, and increased levels of technology, there are going to be millions of new health care jobs available soon.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS states that there will be 19% more healthcare jobs by 2024. This is a growth rate that is much faster than average. In total, it is expected that more than 2.3 million jobs are going to be added. In fact, the healthcare field is going to add more jobs than any other field.
There will be many more patients who need care, more clinical workers, and more facilities handling all of the new patients. Clearly, there will be a major need for more health information technology professionals to manage all of the hardware and software systems, as well as computer networks and any cloud computing networks that are used in advanced healthcare systems.
To be admitted into a health information technology or healthcare informatics master’s program, you should meet these qualifications:
- 75 GPA or higher
- GRE scores usually are required
- Two letters of recommendation
- Statement of purpose of 500 to 1000 words
- College transcripts
- Updated resume
- Healthcare background preferred
Curriculum and Courses
George Mason University offers a Master of Science in Health Informatics, which is very closely related to health information technology. This program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Health Information Education or CAHIM.
This highly regarded master’s program is offered via the Department of Health Administration and Policy within the College of Health and Human Services. This program will prepare you to be a highly skilled health information technologist, health data analyst or manager or possibly a health care management consultant.
Graduates of this two year program will be up to date on new technologies in the healthcare arena. They will be able to manage evolving health information systems for research, administrative and clinical purposes. Students have the option of focusing especially on health data analytics and Big Data, privacy and security and general health analytics.
This program will provide the student with an excellent foundation in health care data systems, health data, information and policy, and combine it with solid knowledge of health IT solutions.
Your required courses include the following:
- Statistics in Health Services Management
- Introduction to Health Services Research
- Introduction to the U.S. Health System
- Quality Improvement in Health Services
- Health Data: Vocabulary and Standards
- Health Care Databases
- Inferential Statistics in Health Services Research and Management
- Project Management in Health Information Technology
- Health Economics
- Health Data Integration
- Health Care Security Policy
- Legal Issues in Health Administration
- Advanced Health Information Systems
- Pre-Capstone Professional Development Seminar
- Capstone Practicum in Health Systems Management
Career Outcome and Job Titles
You will be able to work in these types of positions with this master’s degree:
- Computer technology manager
- Information technology director
- Business analyst
- Healthcare technology analyst
- Management analyst
- Healthcare administrator
- Computer scientist
Job and Salary Outlook
- Medical and Health Services Manager — Employment in this field is going to increase by 17% by 2024; this is much faster than average. More people are retiring and living longer, so there will be a general increase in demand for healthcare services. Naturally, there will be higher demand for information technology managers as well. You should especially look for work in health practitioner offices; as more healthcare services are moving from hospitals to the doctor’s office, there will be more need for good health information technology managers. Median pay is $94,500.
- Computer and Information Systems Manager — Employment in this field will increase by 15% by 2024; it is thought that the demand in the healthcare field could even be higher, however. As more healthcare facilities are filled to capacity, more will be built, and there will be more hiring of computer technology experts to manage vital patient data. Median pay is $131,000 per year.
- Management Analyst — This type of manager may also be called a healthcare consultant in this field. A management analyst in healthcare would look at how a healthcare organization is managing their technology and information systems, look for any inefficiencies, and propose ways to improve them. The end goal is to increase profits and reduce costs. Job demand for management analysts will rise by 14% by 2024. The median salary in this field is $81,320.
Scholarships and Grants
- Seth Bonder Scholarship for Applied Operations Research in Health Sciences: The purpose of this $5000 scholarship is to promote both development application of operations research and modeling in healthcare design, delivery, technology and operations.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York Health Analytics Scholarship: $2500 per academic year, intended for students in health analytics programs and health information technology programs.
- Healthcare Administrative Technology Association: The leading association for healthcare administrative technology professionals.
- AdvaMed: The Advanced Medical Technology Association: The premier association of medtech professionals in North America.