With the advent of healthcare reform and the move to digitize health records, streamline medical costs, and enable better medical decisions, many universities across the country are offering certificate and degreed programs in healthcare (or medical) informatics. Healthcare Informatics incorporates information technology and healthcare to support clinical workflow, collect, organize, and secure health related data, information and knowledge. It also supports the growing knowledge base of physicians in order for them to make better decisions, reduce the costs of treatments, eliminate (severely cut) mistakes and improve overall patient care.
Some of the universities offering certificate and degreed programs (Bachelor and Masters) include, University of Illinois at Chicago, Walden University, Northwestern University, Knowledge Systems Institute and University of Maryland University College to name a few. There are literally over a hundred (100) universities and colleges offering these programs, check out GradSchools.com for additional information on these schools. Many of these colleges offer online or web-based courses, which offer a degree of flexibility for the medical professional who is likely to enroll in one of these programs.
A major objective of healthcare informatics is to formulate standards such as the Health Level Seven International (HL7) Standard, address HIPPA 5010/ICD-10 standard implementation and to provide protocols, procedures, and policies around informatics tools, techniques, and concepts. However, the challenge remains getting medical providers committed to what will be a widespread implementation of the information technology needed to support healthcare informatics. Although this challenge exists, our universities and colleges are already ramping up to meet this challenge. In an economy hurting for jobs, healthcare informatics will provide a future workforce to meet the challenges that healthcare reform brings. This newly equipped workforce will be a catalyst for Americans to realize the benefit of creating a standard and comprehensive healthcare system that will assist medical professionals in providing an overall effective and efficient as well as lower cost patient care experience for all us.