More than ever, healthcare facilities rely on technological applications for the management of health records, which is why you should consider an online bachelor’s in health informatics program. As baby boomers grow older and their medical needs increase, there is an unprecedented need for more nurses, physicians and health administrators.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that medical and health service management positions will grow by 20% from 2016 through 2026, a rate significantly higher than the national average for all occupations. The BLS also projects that demand for health information technicians will increase by 13% in the same period.
The 20 Best Online Bachelor’s in Health Informatics Programs
Online Bachelor’s in Health Informatics Degree Program Ranking Guidelines:
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
1. University of Central Florida
Located in Orlando, the University of Central Florida offers more than 80 degrees and certificates through its online school, UCF Online. UCF Online offers a bachelor of science in health informatics and information management through its health and public affairs school. The program prepares students for careers in the burgeoning field of healthcare information management.
Students earning their health informatics degree online take 66 credit hours of coursework in the major. Courses include health data management, healthcare finance, health law, and principles of healthcare reimbursement, insurance and managed care plans. Students in the program also enjoy benefits like exposure to software used in healthcare systems, built-in certified coding associate training and testing, and an invitation to the national American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) conference. Students participate in community-based internships and AHIMA mentorship programs. During the final semester of the program, the school administers the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam.
UCF Online provides support to all of its distance learners. Students enjoy access to online tutors, academic advising, and peer-assisted learning. In addition to the school’s regular admissions process, students must submit a statement of interest, three references, a criminal background check, and a resume along with the application to the program.
The University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The online health informatics and information management program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
2. East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina
The online bachelor of science in health information management at East Carolina University prepares students to earn their health information management credential through AHIMA’s RHIA exam. Before entering the program, students must complete 33 hours of prerequisite courses and foundational curriculum courses.
Students earning their online health informatics degree complete 126 semester hours of coursework, including core courses, cognates, and foundations curriculum. Required courses in the major explore informatics topics like privacy and security in health information systems, allied health management experience, and healthcare payment systems.
In addition to a face-to-face option on the school’s campus in Greenville, North Carolina, students can complete their degree fully online. Most online courses require students to check their email at least once per day and consult the school’s online learning platform, Blackboard, at least twice per week. Since some courses require live participation, online students must own a reliable computer with video and audio capabilities.
Online learners receive access to Microsoft Office, Windows, and additional software through ECU’s virtual computing lab. Online students also enjoy career services, including CareerNET, an online database of internships and jobs, and InterviewSTREAM, which is a platform that allows students to practice interviewing and record mock interviews for others to critique.
East Carolina University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The online BS in health informatics and information management is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
3. University of Wisconsin - Madison
The University of Wisconsin System’s Extension program offers numerous online degrees. In conjunction with four partner schools — UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Parkside, and UW-Stevens Point — UW Extension offers an online bachelor of science in health information management and technology that blends the study of health information management with health IT.
In addition to the 60 credits of transferable coursework the school requires for admission, the online health informatics degree involves 61 credits of major-related coursework. The school’s summer semester allows students to earn their health informatics degree online in almost half the time of programs that only offer fall and spring semesters.
Although the program covers core material in both areas, students choose to concentrate in either health information management (HIM) or health information technology (HIT). Students in the HIM concentration explore business and administrative topics like HR management, financial and resource management, and strategic planning and organizational development.
Students in the HIT concentration focus on technical subjects like data security, programming and data structures, and communication technologies. Core coursework includes classes like statistics for healthcare; survey of contemporary computing; and ethical issues, survey management, and compliance. The program concludes with a capstone experience. Students in the HIM track prepare to sit for the RHIA certification exam while students in the HIT track prepare for health IT exams.
The University of Wisconsin System is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). UW-Green Bay’s online HIM program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM); the online HIM programs at UW-Parkside and UW-Stevens Point are currently in candidacy status, pending accreditation review.
4. Rutgers University
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Rutgers University offers an online bachelor of science in health information management through its health professions school. The online program consists of two stages: the general education requirement stage (59 credits) and the HIM program stage (61 credits), for a total of 120 required credits. Each stage typically requires two years of study, meaning students generally earn their online degree in health informatics in four years.
To enter the second stage of the program, which focuses exclusively on HIM, applicants must either complete their general education requirements at an affiliate university or already hold an associate degree or higher. Students who already hold a bachelor’s degree who do not want to earn an additional BS in health information management can take fewer courses (45 credits) and earn a certification in HIM. Both the BS and the post-baccalaureate certification program qualify students for the RHIA credentialing exam.
Core HIM requirements explore topics such as introduction to coding, human resource management, and legal aspects of health information. In addition to core courses, students select two elective courses in either medical coding, healthcare compliance, or information governance. Students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher may also choose to take graduate-level elective courses in either health informatics or health information leadership.
Rutgers University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The online BS in HIM program is regionally accredited by the Commission on Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
5. University of South Carolina-Columbia
Columbia, South Carolina
The University of South Carolina’s Palmetto College offers a fully online bachelor of arts in health informatics degree. Part of the USC system, Palmetto College comprises the school’s online programs as well as the school’s two-year campuses in Lancaster, Union, Sumter, and Salkehatchie. The school also maintains a campus in Fort Jackson that serves military members and their families.
The school’s online health informatics degree requires 121–122 credit hours of coursework and typically takes four years to complete. However, this timeframe can fluctuate depending on how many transfer credits a student brings to the program. To enter the online program, students must have already earned at least 45 college-level credit hours. Students can earn these credit hours at one of Palmetto College’s two-year campuses, where they can complete the school’s general education requirements called the Carolina Core. Online learners may also transfer credits from another accredited university or technical school. After earning these initial credits, students can complete the remainder of their health informatics bachelor degree fully online. Degree candidates typically complete this second part of the program in two years.
Required coursework includes microcomputer organization, healthcare information privacy and security, and fundamentals of relational databases. In final year of the program, students take a seminar and participate in a supervised practicum at a local healthcare organization.
The University of South Carolina is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
6. Clarkson College
Located in Omaha, Nebraska, Clarkson College began as a nursing school in 1988. The school has since expanded its focus and now offers an array of degree options, including a fully online bachelor of science in health information administration (HIA). The program prepares students for their RHIA certification exam, covering topics like budget preparation and medical coding. For students who already possess an associate degree, Clarkson offers a transfer option that takes previously earned credits into account. For students who already possess a bachelor’s degree, the school offers a post-baccalaureate certificate option.
The bachelor of science in health care business with a major in health information administration requires 128 credits of coursework. Students take 38 credits of general education courses, 16 credits of support courses, 62 credits of health information major courses, and 12 credits of healthcare business elective courses. Nine of the 38 general education semester hours must come from the Clarkson College core curriculum.
Support courses cover peripheral topics that relate to the field of HIA, such as medical terminology, computer applications, and essentials of pharmacology. Courses in the major explore management topics like revenue cycle management, human resource management, and healthcare delivery systems. The elective courses focus on business aspects of the field, such as financial accounting, business communications, and principles of marketing. Students must also complete an internship and a capstone project.
Clarkson College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The online BS in HIA degree and the post-baccalaureate HIA certificate program are fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
7. Indiana University - Bloomington
In 1969, Indiana University and Purdue University joined forces to create IUPUI. Based out of Indianapolis, IUPUI now offers a variety of programs, including an online bachelor of science in health information management. The school delivers most of its online courses asynchronously, allowing students to log on at any time of day, without set meeting times.
The bachelor of science in health information management program requires 120 credit hours of coursework. Coursework explores topics like effective communication for the healthcare environment, healthcare reimbursement systems, and database design for health information management. Students also take a first year seminar, a RHIA examination preparation course, and a two-credit-hour course in career planning. Students must maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher in order to graduate.
Outside of online coursework, students earning their health informatics degree online must complete an in-person professional practicum through a local healthcare organization. Students seeking a fully online BS program can consider Indiana University’s online BS in Health Information Administration, which prepares students to pass the RHIA certification exam. To enroll, students must hold a two-year HIT degree from IU Northwestern or from a CAHIIM-accredited program.
IUPUI is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The online BS in health information management is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
8. University of Cincinnati
The online BS in health information management at the University of Cincinnati prepares RHIT-certified or eligible students to sit for their RHIA certification examination; the school’s graduates boast a 90% first-try pass rate. Part of the university’s allied health sciences college, the fully online program offers an accelerated format, allowing students to earn their degree in as few as six semesters. Each semester involves two seven-week sessions, allowing students to focus on one course at a time. Students can begin their studies on three different start dates, providing increased flexibility for working professionals. Applicants must possess RHIT credentials (or be eligible) and an associate degree from a CAHIIM-accredited school.
Online students earning their health informatics bachelor degree online at UC enjoy a variety of online resources. The online program boasts a cohort format, meaning students work toward their degree alongside a small group of peers. Each week, students communicate with their cohort through discussion boards, chat sessions, and email. Required coursework explores health data management, legal aspects and healthcare delivery, and healthcare statistics and research methods. Students must also fulfill a seven-credit combined capstone and practicum requirement.
The University of Cincinnati is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The online BS in health information management is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
9. Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Located in the town of Bowling Green, Western Kentucky University offers both a two-year and four-year option for students pursuing an online bachelor of science in health information management. The two-year option targets students who already possess an associate degree in HIM or HIT from a CAHIIM-accredited school. The four-year program serves students with no college experience (incoming freshman), those with some transferable credits, and students with an associate degree in HIM or HIT from a non-CAHIIM-accredited program. Students in the latter category may test out of up to 21 of the program’s required credits.
Students in the two-year health informatics bachelor degree online program complete 34 hours of core coursework and 12 hours of restricted electives, some of which transfer credits can fulfill. Students who do not possess an associate degree from a regionally accredited school must also fulfill the school’s 39 hours of general education requirements, called the Colonnade Program. Students in WKU’s four-year program must complete 79–82 hours of core coursework and 12 hours of restricted electives in addition to the 39 Colonnade Program hours. Required core courses in both degree pathways include health information management and leadership, clinical evaluation and outcomes, and biostatistics in health sciences. The four-year BS program explores additional fundamental HIM courses like medical terminology, healthcare payment systems, and health data content and structure.
Western Kentucky University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The online BS in health information management program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
10. Oregon Institute of Technology
Klamath Falls, Oregon
Based out of Klamath Falls, Oregon, the Oregon Institute of Technology offers a fully online bachelor of science in health informatics that provides a hands-on approach to health informatics, helping graduates land high-paying jobs in the field. Online students enjoy a low student-faculty ratio as well as access to support services, such as academic counseling and advising. Students interact with their peers and professors through Blackboard, the school’s online learning platform.
Students earning their health informatics online degree take courses in subjects like database design, digital security, data analytics, systems analysis, healthcare IT, electronic health record implementation, and computer programming. Overall, students complete 181 quarter credit hours of coursework. Information technology courses make up 114 of these quarter credits, while the remaining credits cover topics in communication, humanities, math, science, and social science. Required information technology courses cover a variety of topics, including project management, finance, data mining, hardware/software integration, and programming fundamentals. Students leave the program with a well-rounded understanding of the relationships between business management, IT, and healthcare.
Freshman and transfer students can apply for the online BS in health informatics. Transfer students can take advantage of the school’s many articulation agreements with regional community colleges and can use the transfer equivalency tool to determine which courses Oregon Tech will accept. Applicants must possess at least two years of high school language experience in the same language, with a grade of C- or higher. Incoming students, including transfer students, can also apply for a variety of scholarships.
Oregon Tech is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
11. Louisiana Tech University
Louisiana Tech University offers a variety of online degrees, including an online bachelor of science in health informatics and information management. Students who live in or near the school’s main campus in Ruston may also complete the program on campus. In their final quarter of study, all students complete an in-person professional experience (a practicum or internship) at a healthcare organization near them. During this final quarter, students also sit for the AHIMA exam; those who pass earn their RHIA credential and can proceed to practice in the field.
The online degree in health informatics requires 120 hours of coursework. Students take 39 hours of general education courses, 66 hours of health information management courses, and 15 hours of program requirements like electives, business courses, and a clinical lab. The HIM-specific courses cover a variety of topics, including fundamentals of disease and pharmacology, classification of procedures, and health systems leadership.
Online learners at Louisiana Tech use a combination of computer programs to access their coursework. The school relies primarily on Moodle Course Management System, which allows students to communicate with their peers and teachers, access assignments, and view PowerPoints. Students may also take some exams through Moodle, although some tests may require students to use a local proctoring site. The school also uses Echo 350 to stream lecture recordings.
Louisiana Tech University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The online BS in health informatics and health information management is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
12. Regis University
The online bachelor of science in health information management at Regis University provides students with an understanding of both the technical and management aspects of healthcare delivery. Students can earn their degree fully online without any on-campus requirements. Asynchronous courses allow students to access their coursework at any time of day, without set meeting times or participation requirements. Students can begin their studies in either the fall, spring, or summer term. Regis University also offers tuition assistance and benefits for active or former military members who wish to build upon the skills they learned during their service.
Offered through the school’s computer and information sciences college, the online health informatics degree requires 120 credit hours of coursework. Students take 45 credit hours of general core studies, 42 credit hours of major courses, and nine credit hours of departmental requirements. Students also earn a minor in either health care administration or computer information systems; each minor requires 12 credit hours of coursework. Students round out their degree requirements with nine elective credit hours. Coursework in the major explores HIM subjects, such as disease classification systems, design and selection of IT systems in healthcare, and reimbursement management in healthcare settings. Students also complete a management practicum in which they make professional connections and gain hands-on experience in a healthcare setting. In their final term of study, students sit for the RHIA certification exam.
Regis University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The online BS in health information management is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
13. King University
Located in Bristol, Tennessee, King University is a Christian institution that offers a variety of industry-specific degrees. The school’s online degree in health informatics provides a multifaceted approach to the field, blending coursework from healthcare administration, health informatics, and information technology. Graduates go on to pursue careers in hospitals, clinics, and private organizations.
To graduate from King University, students must earn 124 semester hours. The health informatics online degree includes 12 courses focusing on health informatics for a total of 48 semester hours of coursework in the major. Coursework covers a variety of administrative and IT topics, such as ethics and legal issues, database management, cloud computing, and electronic health records. Because of the program’s accelerated format and year-round course offerings, students can complete all major coursework in 16 months. Students must also complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of general education requirements. In their final semester of study, students must take a general education assessment called the Outcomes Assessment at King (OAK). The OAK, a pass or fail test, consists of 75 general education questions.
To enter the online degree in health informatics, students must already possess at least 45 semester hours of coursework from an accredited institution. The school accepts up to 76 semester hours of transfer credits earned with a grade of C- or better.
King University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
14. St. Joseph’s College of Maine
In addition to course offerings on its campus in Standish, St. Joseph’s College of Maine offers a full selection of online degrees, including an entirely online BS in health information management. To keep students engaged, most courses require weekly deadlines. Otherwise, students complete their work whenever and wherever they want. The program also allows students to integrate their professional experience into their coursework.
Students pursuing their health informatics bachelor’s degree online at St. Joseph’s complete 128 credits of coursework. Students entering the program without any credits typically finish in four years. Students entering the program with an associate degree can apply it toward their bachelor’s degree and finish in less time — typically two years. Students complete 36 credits of general education core courses, 51 credits of HIM core courses, 18 credits of general elective courses, and a three-credit, 120-hour advanced practicum. Students spend 60 of these hours working at a local professional healthcare site and the other 60 in a virtual lab. In their HIM core courses, students explore a variety of topics, such as coding, health data management, information protection, and compliance and ethics.
St. Joseph’s is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The online BS in health information management is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
15. Dakota State University
Madison, South Dakota
In addition to its campus-based program in Madison, South Dakota, Dakota State University offers a fully online bachelor of science in health information administration. Students in the online program access material through webcasts and regularly interact with their on-campus peers.
Students typically earn their health informatics online degree in eight semesters or four years, completing around 120 credit hours of coursework. During their first two years, as part of the HIT portion of the program, students take courses like fundamentals of disease coding, healthcare procedure coding systems, and revenue cycle management. After completing the HIT portion of the program or earning their RHIT certification, students formally apply to the school’s selective bachelor’s in HIA program.
Once accepted into the bachelor’s program, students complete two more years of studies relating to HIA. Courses include health data systems, management of HIM centers, and technical communication. During summers, between semesters, students participate in professional internship experiences at a local healthcare facility. These experiences help students build their resumes, gain hands-on training, and network within the field.
Dakota State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The online BS in health information administration is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
16. Ferris State University
Big Rapids, Michigan
The health professions college at Ferris State University offers a bachelor of science in health information management online as well as on its Grand Rapids campus. The school’s HIM program equips students with the skills needed to pursue careers in the field; 92% of graduates either find work or continue their education.
The school offers the online BS as a degree completion program, meaning students must already possess an associate degree in either health information technology or medical records technology before they can apply. Students who live in the area can complete this associate degree on FSU’s Grand Rapids campus, which offers both the associate degree in health information technology as well as the full bachelor’s in HIM. Transfer students whose associate degree does not fulfill all the program prerequisites may need to earn additional credits before starting the online bachelor’s program at FSU. Graduates leave the program eligible to sit for the RHIA certification exam.
Overall, the online BS requires 131 credits of coursework. Courses in the HIM major include statistics in healthcare, the U.S. healthcare system, current procedural terminology coding, and legal and ethical aspects in HIM. In order to graduate with a degree from Ferris State University, students must earn at least 30 credit hours at FSU.
FSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The online BS in health information management is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
17. Davenport University
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Davenport University, a private, non-profit university based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, offers a bachelor of science in health information management online. Students can also complete the degree in-person on one of the school’s many campuses across the state. Students who graduate from the program are eligible to sit for their RHIA certification exam and begin their career as an HIM professional.
To graduate with an online degree in health informatics, students must earn a minimum of 120 credit hours. In addition to 38 credits of foundations of excellence courses, students take at least 15 courses in foundations of health profession, at least 66 courses in the HIM major, and at least three additional credits of electives. Foundations in health profession courses explore topics like medical terminology, healthcare law, and ethics. Major coursework involves more specific courses like healthcare finance, coding and revenue cycle management, and introduction to reimbursement systems. Students must also complete a professional practice experience in which they work at a local hospital or healthcare center. Elective course options include disaster recovery, healthcare risk management, a study abroad experience, and an additional professional practice experience in coding.
Davenport University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The online BS in health information management is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
18. Granite State College
Concord, New Hampshire
The online bachelor of science in health information management degree completion program at Granite State College targets students who already hold an associate degree in either HIM or HIT from a regionally accredited institution. For students who live in the area, the online BS also offers some optional face-to-face courses at the school’s campus in Concord, New Hampshire. The school accepts applications on a rolling basis, allowing students to begin their studies whenever is most convenient for them.
The online degree in health informatics requires courses like managing information technology, law and ethics for healthcare and human services, managing diversity, and healthcare policy. Students also gain experience through internships, practicums, and integrative capstone courses. To graduate with a bachelor’s degree from GSC, students must earn 30 of their 120 credit hours through the school’s online degree completion program.
Because GSC specializes in distance education, the school provides online students with an array of support services. The school’s career counseling service helps students create a LinkedIn account, draft a resume, and write cover letters. The school also boasts affordable tuition rates, personalized academic support, and a Prior Learning Assessment that helps students receive as many credits as possible for their previous education, training, professional experiences, and life experiences. Such experiences include military training and professional certifications.
Granite State College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
19. Augusta University
A public research university founded in 1828, Augusta College offers a variety of degree options both on campus and online. The school’s bachelor of science in health information administration serves students who already hold an associate degree in a field relating to health information administration, management, or technology. After earning their associate degree from an accredited college (Augusta College also offers this associate-level coursework), students can complete the final two years of their HIA bachelor’s degree fully online or on the school’s campus in Augusta, Georgia. Graduates leave the program prepared to sit for their RHIA certification exam; 84% pass the exam on their first try.
The BS in health information administration at Augusta College requires 124 program hours. After completing their first two years of coursework, students begin taking HIA-related courses their junior year. Major coursework explores healthcare topics like healthcare vocabularies and data sets, human resources management for healthcare, and health law and ethics. The program also covers information technology topics like system analysis and design, information systems, and electronic health information systems. All students complete a leadership capstone and those who transfer into the program with fewer than 60 program hours must also fulfill the school’s wellness graduation requirement.
Augusta College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The online BS in health information administration is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
20. University of Illinois at Chicago
Students who already possess an associate degree in health informatics or a related field can earn their bachelor’s in health information management through the University of Illinois’ online health informatics program. The school’s online bachelor’s in HIM prepares students to sit for their RHIA certification exam and equips them with the necessary skills for careers in health information management. In addition to an associate degree and prerequisites, applicants must demonstrate a GPA of 2.5 or higher, and submit three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and current resume.
After completing their prerequisites, students take 63 hours of coursework in the HIM major. The schools grants 24 hours of proficiency credits to students who enter the program with an associate degree from an CAHIIM-accredited school and a current RHIT credential. Therefore, students who already possess these qualifications must only complete 32 hours of coursework to graduate with their bachelor’s in HIM. These 32 hours, required for all students regardless of incoming credits, include courses on current issues in health information management, health data structures and management, and healthcare financial management. All students must also complete a clinical practicum.
University of Illinois at Chicago is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The online BS in health information management is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
Choosing an Online Bachelor’s in Health Informatics Program
A health informatics online degree applies information technology and computer systems to healthcare to improve the quality and safety of care and delivery. Health informatics programs provide students with the technological skills required for the collection and analysis of healthcare data. This data is used in all kinds of medical organizations, including hospitals, clinics, home healthcare services, insurance companies, and government agencies. Students in this rapidly growing field can find employment as healthcare information analysts, software support and medical records technicians, and medical and health service managers.
Requirements vary from school to school, but most undergraduate programs require 120 credits and take approximately four years of full-time study to complete. Several programs require a capstone research project. Students completing health informatics degrees online generally take courses in health information terminology, statistics and data analysis, coding and classification systems, and computer networking.
Students in informatics programs learn how to manage and protect electronic medical records. These programs also introduce students to topics in healthcare regulation, compliance, and security. Some health informatics online degrees focus on healthcare management. These management programs include specialized coursework in organizational management, information systems design, quality assurance, and legal and ethical issues in healthcare delivery.
What Will I Learn in an Online Bachelor’s in Health Informatics Program?
Most online health informatics degrees use a multidisciplinary approach that connects the fields of business management, information systems, and healthcare delivery. In addition to each school’s distinctive liberal arts and sciences requirements, the typical informatics curriculum includes coursework in medical records, patient information, computer systems, security, and healthcare information applications. These courses give students skills that are directly transferable to career goals. Common courses include:
- Introduction to health informatics: This gateway course presents an overview of the major uses of information technology in healthcare organizations. Students learn about healthcare terminology, the components of computer systems, major health informatics applications, and database organization. These courses also cover issues such as concurrency, consistency, back-up, security, and recovery from failure.
- Medical terminology and healthcare classifications: In this class, students learn the classification and grouping of medical terminologies as they are generally applied in healthcare settings. Topics include the encoding of medical terminology for machine storage and access, the design of messages for information systems, and the use of MeSH, SNOMED and UMLS applications.
- Healthcare information flow and data management: For students interested in informatics data management, this course examines the flow and use of health information. The course examines data flow in healthcare processes and healthcare systems. Students analyze the role of electronic documents in healthcare information systems, with an emphasis on privacy, confidentiality, and security concerns under the parameters of the Health Insurance and Accountability Act.
Online Bachelor’s in Health Informatics Careers
Employment prospects for graduates with bachelor’s in health informatics online degrees will continue to expand through the next decade. Medical and health services managers will experience particularly high demand. Although many of these opportunities are open to bachelor’s degree holders, a master’s is increasingly required for advancement to managerial positions in healthcare organizations.
Medical Records and Health Information Technician: Commonly referred to as health information technicians, these employees use classification systems to organize patient information for medical databases and insurance reimbursement. Medical records technicians manage patient records and maintain the quality, accuracy and security of their databases. Employers increasingly require these technicians to hold bachelor’s degrees with coursework in data analysis, coding, computer systems, and electronic medical records.
- Median Annual Salary: $38,180
- Projected Growth Rate: 13%
Medical and Health Service Manager: These managers oversee hospitals, clinics and medical facilities. Working closely with doctors, nurses, laboratory personnel, and technicians, they ensure efficiency and quality in healthcare delivery. Health service managers typically hold a degree in health informatics, health management, or a related field. They must have a strong foundation in business management, healthcare information systems, and hospital administration.
- Median Annual Salary: $98,350
- Projected Growth Rate: 20%
Computer and Information Systems Manager: Computer and information systems managers are central to the operation of modern organizations, including healthcare facilities. These managers assess an organization’s technology needs, monitor security, research new applications, and upgrade systems. Opportunities are rapidly expanding for information systems managers with a bachelor’s in health informatics or health management.
- Median Annual Salary: $139,220
- Projected Growth Rate: 12%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Accreditation for Online Bachelor’s in Health Informatics Degrees
It is absolutely crucial to attend an accredited college or university. Accredited schools have been evaluated by independent commissions to ensure that they deliver quality programs and meet established standards of performance. As you research health informatics online degrees, become familiar with the difference between national or regional accreditation.
Regionally accredited schools, which account for 85% of the nation’s institutions of higher learning, are generally well respected and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council of Higher Education Accreditation. Academically focused schools typically receive regional accreditation. For-profit, technical, and vocational schools usually receive national accreditation. These schools offer inexpensive tuition and fairly relaxed admissions policies. However, they are not as rigorous and not as well-regarded by employers.
Some online health informatics degrees earn specialized accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. CAHIIM-accredited programs prepare students for the registered health information administrator exam. This credential may enhance employment opportunities.
Health Informatics Professional Organizations
Planning for life after graduation should be an important part of your undergraduate experience whether you are earning a health informatics degree online or on a brick and mortar campus. Joining a professional organization can provide significant career opportunities and professional connections. Professional associations in health informatics welcome student members. These organizations offer continuing education, research opportunities, job placement assistance, and networking events with experienced professionals.
- American Health Information Management Association: AHIMA plays a leading role in advancing health informatics and data analytics. The association hosts professional development opportunities, sponsors a student resource center, provides career mentoring, and hosts a job bank.
- American Society of Health Informatics Managers: A nongovernmental association, ASHIM promotes professional standards for health information technology managers and health informatics managers. The society offers online training programs designed to improve members’ skills and marketability. ASHIM oversees the certified health informatics systems professional certification.
- Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society: This organization advocates for best uses of information and technology in support of low cost healthcare. HIMSS offers certifications in healthcare information and management systems. Student members receive access to website resources such as the eLearning Academy.