Nearly half a decade ago, Congress passed legislation known as the Affordable Care Act, which promised not only to expand healthcare coverage to the uninsured, but also to increase the efficiency and online availability of key health procedures and records. Part of the law required digitizing patient health records and treatment histories so that they could be easily shared and accessed online. That part of the legislation was one of the first that went into effect and since 2010, hospitals and smaller clinics have been rapidly working through patient files to digitize these records through advanced healthcare information systems portals. They’ve been performing this task with the help of health informatics professionals who are specially trained to work with hospital software and patients’ records, with both technological expertise and a working knowledge of healthcare privacy laws.
Thanks to the push to make all patient records available electronically, the health informatics and information management field is expected to grow at a 22 percent rate through the end of the decade. According to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, that growth rate represents “much faster than average” overall job growth, with more than 41,000 new positions expected to be added between 2012 and 2022. With increasing average salaries year over year, and no expected lull in demand for those who have mastered healthcare privacy laws, regulations, and software applications, it’s no surprise that so many schools offer a health informatics major.
With job growth rates at 22 percent in this industry and a rising demand for professionals who can manage health information systems and data entry, it’s no surprise that many schools across the country are developing stronger programs in health informatics and health information systems. The 10 programs listed here are among the best in terms of quality, affordability, and individualized attention, for students across the country. Since many options are available to students, a few online programs stand out as the best options for those pursuing this career. That’s why we have created the following 10 Best Online Health Informatics/Health Information Management Bachelor Degree Programs:
1. University of Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin is one of America’s most prestigious public institutions, commonly referred to as the one of the country’s “Public Ivies.” In a ranking based on overall cost, quality, and the status of student outcomes after graduation, the University of Wisconsin ranks 24th in the world, 18th in North and South America, and within the top 15 schools in the United States. In order to be considered for admission to this program, which results in a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Systems, students must have completed at least 60 credits of undergraduate coursework in the field at a local community college or through another online institution. Upon admission, students will choose from one of two concentrations, either in health information management or health information technology. A total of 20 classes are required, with four of those classes considered concentration-eligible electives. Tuition is $5,205 for residents and $13,330 for non-residents.
For more information about the University of Wisconsin’s Online Health Information Systems Bachelor Degree Program, go here.
2. Kaplan University
Founded in 1937, the institution now known as Kaplan University has been providing distance education services to working adult students since long before the advent of online degree programs. Today, Kaplan has leveraged that experience to become one of the most accessible and innovative distance learning institutions available to American students. Its commitment to academic quality and innovation have landed it in the top 60 schools in the United States for online programs, with some of its individual degree offerings ranking even higher. Like the program offered by the University of Wisconsin, this online options is open only to those students who have already completed between 60 and 90 credits of work in health informatics at a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. Kaplan offers “completion” courses that turn a two-year degree in this field into a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management, which is among the most powerful degrees for entry-level professionals in this industry. Tuition is an affordable $371 per quarter hour.
For more information about Kaplan University’s Online Health Information Management Bachelor Degree Program, go here.
3. University of Cincinnati
Few schools in Ohio have achieved the level of recognition afforded to the University of Cincinnati, which consistently ranks as one of the most affordable, prestigious, and rigorous institutions in the state. As an inherently urban, public institution, the University of Cincinnati also ranks as one of the most diverse student bodies in the country. Through its online program, the school encourages interaction through discussion boards, group projects and presentations, webcam lectures, and more. The health information program is one of the school’s fastest-growing, and is structured in a completion format. All students considered for admission to UC’s health information management program must have completed at least two years of study in the field at a community college level. Upon admission, they’ll take either 20 or 21 courses that will allow them to complete their studies and earn a B.S. in in the field. Internships are required of students in the UC program, and may be arranged by career services professionals though the school’s online portal. Tuition for the University of Cincinnati’s Online Health Information Management Bachelor Degree Program is $26,334 per year.
For more information on the University of Cincinnati’s Online Health Information Management Bachelor Degree Program, go here.
4. DeVry University
DeVry is one of the oldest institutions offering distance education, having innovated in this space when distance learning involved mail and telephone correspondence. Today, DeVry has developed its own, customized online access portal for its courses. These courses thrive on discussion board posts, teleconferencing between groups of students, and video or slide lectures uploaded by professors. The school has received top marks from the likes of Consumer Reports and U.S. News and World Report for its innovative online technologies and it’s affordability at just $365 per credit hour. The school’s Healthcare Informatics Program is offered as a concentration within the larger health information management major, and yields a Bachelor of Science degree upon completion. Because this program is a concentration within a broader major, it is not considered a “completion” degree. Instead, students can take all four years of undergraduate coursework in pursuit of this concentration.
For more information on Devry University’s Online Healthcare Informatics Bachelor Degree Program, go here.
5. Walden University
Walden University was actually established by two teachers in the 1970s, in large part to help working adults start or complete their college education in a number of fields. Health information management was added to the college’s list of programs only recently, but has grown dramatically since its inception. The school earns praise for its instructional quality and individualized student attention, and typically ranks as on of the top 80 online universities in the United States. Plus at only $280 per quarter hour, Walden offers one of the most economical means of completing your online degree. The B.S. in Healthcare Management program is unique among online options, in that it uses a quarter-based system instead of semesters. A total of 181 credits are required by the program, of which 135 can even be transferred in from other schools.
For more about Walden University’s Online Healthcare Management Bachelor Degree Program, go here.
6. Capella University
Capella University, founded in 1993, is one of the fastest-growing online institutions in the United States. The school’s focus is on programs that prepare students for skilled positions in business, healthcare, education, and other industries, and therefore requires a great deal of hands-on learning experiences through the Capella online portal. Professors are both doctoral and graduate-level adjuncts, with extensive experience in their respective fields. The Health Information Technology Department offers a B.S. in the field, which students can complete with 180 quarter hours over the course of either three or five years. Classes in healthcare law and patient privacy regulations, business and healthcare information systems, and healthcare management, are all required in this program, as are at least 40 quarter hours of elective classes. Tuition is based upon degree level and ranges from $2,800 to $5,177 per quarter.
For more about Capella University’s Online Health Information Technology Bachelor Degree Program, go here.
7. Colorado Technical University
Colorado Tech’s online programs are usually ranked in the top 10 options nationwide for members of the military, thanks to accelerated course completion schedules and compact sessions that begin every eight weeks throughout the year. The school is also nationally recognized for its innovative distance learning technologies, its focus on practical experience through simulations and required internships, and its overall affordability compared to many other online schools. The HIM program at Colorado Tech focuses not only on health informatics and information management, but also on business-related fields like management, economics, accounting, and human resource management. As a result, graduates of CTU are prepared for a variety of careers in the fast-growing healthcare and business industries across the country. Plus, the cost of your entire degree averages around $30,225 in tuition for the full program.
For more about Colorado Technical University’s Online Healthcare Management/Healthcare Informatics Bachelor Degree Program, go here.
8. Western Governors University
Western Goveror’s University (WGU) was founded by a coalition of 19 governors from the western part of the United States in 1997 and has seen steady growth ever since. The school requires constant contact between students and professors, typically via in-person phone calls and occasional webcam sessions. This helps students master the material at hand and also ensures that students are complying with university policies relating to attendance and academic honestly. The school is one of the few nonprofit schools for online students and as such invests its money directly into improvements to the online learning system, financial aid, and learning materials. Students who enroll in the B.S. in Health Information Technology will quickly learn the most common patient records software used in today’s hospitals. They also will learn the legal, ethical, and regulatory statutes that affect how they perform their job. The program will also teach basic management, human resources, and communications skills to students, and will test their computer proficiency during the first year of enrollment. Tuition is $3,250 per term with the option to accelerate studies to save both money and time.
For more about Wesyern Governor’s University’s Online Health Information Technology/Health Informatics Bachelor Degree Program, go here.
9. Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is perhaps the only university in the world that shares something with Apple, HBO, and Netflix: The university is consistently ranked as one of the most innovative organizations on the planet by major business publications. SNHU ranks among the top 50 most innovative schools and companies worldwide according to Fast Company and offers students a superior value thanks to its accelerated programs, innovative courses, and attentive professors who oversee small class sizes compared to other online schools. SNHU’s B.S. in Health Information Management covers basic patient software systems, the fundamentals of healthcare information systems and information technology, and the laws and regulations that govern patient care, privacy, and recordkeeping. It also introduces students to healthcare management, business and interpersonal communication, public speaking, business law, and human resources topics, creating a well-rounded program. Tuition at SNHU is approximately $960 per course plus additional education related expenses.
For more about Southern New Hampshire University’s Online Health Information Management Bqachelor Degree Program, go here.