Is it Worth it? 5 Reasons to Pursue a Master’s Degree in Health Informatics
The convergence of medicine and information technology has spurred an entirely new industry, one that every healthcare professional – regardless of age or experience – must adapt to. Hospitals and doctor’s offices that once kept rows of file cabinets containing patient records have now turned to databases to keep track of this paperless paper trail.
The rapid adoption of electronic health records and other health care technologies has also driven demand for prepared individuals with an understanding and skillset to tackle these challenges, according to Dr. Karen Bakuzonis, program chair of Ashford University’s Master of Science in Health Informatics and Analytics. The degree, she explains, addresses theoretical concepts for foundational understanding of health informatics, with an emphasis on real-world application.
If you’re interested a career in a cutting-edge healthcare field, here are five reasons you should consider pursuing a Master of Science in Health Informatics and Analytics.
1. Stay at the forefront of your field
Adapting new technology helps doctors organize, manage, and protect the privacy of patient records, but data analytics also enhances the ability to properly diagnose and manage medical conditions, providing knowledge and understanding that can prolong lives.
Whether you are already in the industry or are hoping to pursue a healthcare-related career, a Master of Science in Health Informatics and Analytics will expose you to the latest tools and techniques used today. At the same time, mastering the ability to analyze data will give you a leg up in areas of clinical practice and risk analytics, while also helping you to develop a highly transferable skill that you can apply at multiple stages of your career.
2. Put new skills to work immediately
One of the primary reasons professionals return to school is to gain a new set of marketable skills that they can use to climb the ladder within their own company or at a new one. The Master of Science in Health Informatics and Analytics imparts valuable knowledge and skills in areas of “project management, data visualization, and grant writing,” among others, that can be applied immediately to your professional work, according to Dr. Bakuzonis.
3. Stimulating, relevant courses
Ashford University’s Master of Science in Health Informatics and Analytics consists of 13 courses in the areas of health informatics and analytics, health care administration, and public health. Health Informatics includes a diverse range of career options, Dr. Bakuzonis explains, and the courses included in the degree are designed to build a holistic foundation of knowledge. A few highlights include:
HIA 620 Data Visualization and Decision Support - The ability to analyze data removes any need for guessing in the healthcare industry. This course teaches students how to process data, identify relevant information, and discard irrelevant data using open source and free software.
HIA 610 Systems Analysis, Design and Technology Management – Among the critical topics addressed in this course is data security. Replacing file cabinets with databases increases the risk of cyber attacks, exposure, and theft of patient data. Health Informatics and Analytics students gain an understanding of how these attacks occur and how they can be prevented.
HIA 608 Healthcare Program and Project Management – Project management is a highly desired and transferrable skill. This course applies principles of project management to challenges in the healthcare industry, with an emphasis on practical application that not only enhances technical acumen, but also valuable leadership skills.
4. Access to experts
Ashford University students don’t gain all of their knowledge from books and research. They also have unprecedented access to their instructors, who are experts in their respective fields. Dr. Bakuzonis is a veteran of the healthcare industry who serves on the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.
Additionally, Ashford University’s College of Health, Human Services, and Science includes experts and longtime professionals in the fields of Health Care Administration, including Dr. Pazanta Goolsby, Dr. Yvonne Lozano, and Dr. Michelle Cranney, among others. The online classroom allows you to seek guidance from your instructors and learn from their experiences in professional environments.
5. Job security in a growing field
There is no shortage of demand for qualified healthcare professionals in the United States. With an aging Baby Boomer population, healthcare employment is projected to grow much faster than average through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The result, the agency predicts, will be about 2.4 million new jobs. By studying Health Informatics and Analytics, or another healthcare-related field, you will be positioning yourself for long-term opportunities upon graduation.
If you’re looking for a versatile, relevant degree program that will lead to opportunities in healthcare, contact an Ashford University advisor about your Master of Science in Health Informatics and Analytics.
Written by Ashford University staff