Master of Science in Health Informatics (MSHI)
Healthcare, one of the largest and most vital sectors of the US economy, still creates many of its records by hand. But that may be finally changing. Bolstered by funding from the economic stimulus package, the industry is gearing up to computerize patients' medical records and create a nationwide infrastructure to facilitate the transmission and exchange of records among patients, doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and others.
Bringing this paper-intensive industry into the digital age will create an immediate need for talented IT professionals. They will be needed to help vendors, professional services organizations, and healthcare companies not only get these stimulus-funded systems off the ground, but manage and maintain the new services.*
Governments, healthcare organizations and professional bodies increasingly recognize the need for efficient and effective access to patient information to improve the quality of health care, with information technology used as an enabler in this endeavor.
Currently, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is taking a leadership role on promoting information technology (IT) as a strategic enabler for efficient and effective healthcare. HHS advocates the use of information technology for the comprehensive management of medical information and its secure exchange between healthcare providers and consumers.**
In 2007 the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that emphasized the need to train 10,000 healthcare workers to use health information technology effectively. That bill serves as further testimony to the need for more higher education programs in the health information management field.***
The 2004 American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) work force report, "Embracing the Future," explicitly recognized graduate education for the health information management (HIM) profession as a priority for the future.
A graduate-level program in health informatics will enhance the body of knowledge and practice relative to health information; will facilitate real-time healthcare delivery, and will support critical, health care-related decision making.
*Sanford Health has IT as a priority area in its 2005-2006 annual report
***10,000 Trained by 2010 Act. 100th Congress, HR 1467