New online master’s degree in health information available

Taylor Titus

The School of Library and Information Science will launch an online master’s degree in Health Informatics this fall.

Health informatics is the science that defines how health information is collected, organized, shared and managed. It focuses on information systems, informatics principles and information technology.

Health informatics is a concentration within the school’s Information Architecture and Knowledge Management program. The concentration is designed with the goal of learning the skills that are needed to use health care data systems and how data is used to improve clinical care and population health.

“When you look at the hot jobs in the country, information technology and health care are always in the top-10 listings,” said Michael Bice, Kent State health informatics professor and director of the Health Informatics program. “We know there is going to be a market for students who have this skill set and the jobs are reasonably well paying.”

Health Informatics will prepare students for new careers in the health and information technology field, such as health care informaticist, electronic medical record project manager, senior manager in an information technology department, or the head of a health information exchange and senior storage engineer.

“One of the few job categories that most everyone agrees will continue to grow is in health care, and there is little doubt that with the new legislation dealing with health care there is a big push to digitize and computerize health information,” said Richard Rubin, associate provost for extended education at Kent State.

Future employers’ expectations shaped the curriculum of the program to ensure students graduate with the exact skills they will need. The curriculum covers areas of knowledge, such as health informatics management, health information systems, legal issues in health informatics, leadership and organizational change, information technology and project management.

Bice helped create an advisory council comprised of 23 doctors and information technology executives in northeast Ohio, which will help spread the word and recruit students.

There are two tracks for the program — a master’s degree with 14 three-credit hour courses and a certificate program with six three-credit hour courses. All of the classes are online and are limited to 30 students. There are also required on-campus workshops.

Kent State has the only ealth informatics graduate program in the state, Bice said, who came to the Kent from the University of Florida and worked as a hospital administrator for 30 years. It is also the only health informatics program housed in the College of Communication in the nation.

“I’m very proud of it, people thought it through carefully,” Rubin said. “The cogency of the program is definitely a plus. I am extremely optimistic that these people will make a real contribution to the health community at a time where we can’t wait.”

Contact Taylor Titus at [email protected].