Monthly Archives: October 2014

10 Best Online Health Informatics/Health Information Management Bachelor Degree Programs

10Nearly 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

10 Best Online Masters in Health Informatics/Health Information Management Degree Programs

top1Changing demographics and the ever-evolving nature of the health care system has created a great number of exciting career opportunities for qualified professionals.  The field of medical billing is one of them and it is only poised to grow in terms of the number of people it will likely employ.  Since medical billing began as an interface between patients and insurance companies, it has come to encompass numerous facets of how health care is run on both a day-to-day and a larger, industry-wide basis.  To help interested parties find the best possible school, we have compiled a list that evaluates each school based on the credential programs it offers, the degrees it can award and the relative rigor and subsequent real-world preparation of its curriculum.  Interested applicants should carefully evaluate potential options based on what specific path they would like to pursue.  Each degree program offers a different emphasis within this rapidly growing and developing field.  A candidate who wishes to specialize in more pragmatic infrastructural matters may choose a different program than a candidate who is intrigued by the potential of specializing in the means of innovation itself.  In each case, these brief summaries of each school’s offerings should help to point candidates to the best program for their current and future needs.  Without further delay, here are the 10 Best Online Masters in Health Informatics/Health Information Management Degree Programs:

1.  Arizona State University

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With 34 credits needed to achieve accreditation with an emphasis on “Master of Healthcare Innovation,” Arizona State University believes in creating a comprehensive curriculum that helps students prepare for future innovations in the field by studying aspects of technology, system design programs, change theory, and entrepreneurship among others. S tudents from a wide variety of backgrounds including finance, journalism, nursing and engineering, are encouraged to apply.  This program receives such a high ranking in part because it encourages progressive, forward-thinking, instead of rote learning, enabling participants to prepare for a career, not merely a temporary job.  The cost of the online program is $768 per credit hour.

For more information about Arizona State University’s Online Masters Program, go here here.

2.  Boston University

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With ten courses needed to achieve certification, Boston University’s Online Master of Science in Health Communication offers students the opportunity to explore and focus on the nuances of communication among multiple systems and types of work environments.  The program, which can be completed in under two years, takes into consideration the changing nature of both physical and infrastructural environments.  For those students who wish to develop the skills needed to effectively communicate with the public and the media, this program is an excellent way to begin learning the needed skills.  An awareness and mastery of ethics, as well as a background in fundamental communication tools, are integral parts of the curriculum.

For more information about Boston University’s Online Masters Program, go here.

3.  University of Tennessee

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For those students who wish to focus on the management of information within a medical billing context, the University of Tennessee offers an online masters program that delves into the intricacies of both in-house decision making and interdepartmental coordination.  The relationship between various governmental agencies, including regional and national databases is explored, as well as the development of more effective data management and sharing within particular institutions.  The program is rooted in the notion that students will encounter a rapidly changing and chaotic world when they decide to put their degree to use.  Therefore, all the courses emphasize an approach that enables them to make rapid but sound decisions in terms of data management within a variety of different environments.

For more information about the University of Tennessee’s Online Masters Program, go here.

4.  Drexel University

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The psycho-social nature of the health care industry and the inherent issues that result form one of the fundamental tenets of Drexel’s online master degree program.  Here, students immerse themselves in a series of courses that allows them to conceive of the vast political and infrastructural landscape of health care as it is, not as many wish it to be.  This pragmatic approach, which is vested in the idea that excellent communication skills and a thorough understanding of complex systems enable people to pursue careers in a variety of fields, is geared towards those who wish to undertake a collaborative yet easily implementable educational approach.  However, the program does not take a defeatist approach towards realpolitik, but rather an inclusive one. Students are encouraged to master the world and then make changes to improve its processes.

For more information about Drexel University’s Online Masters Program, go here .

5.  Kaplan University

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Kaplan’s program takes a more technology-oriented approach towards medical billing. Here, students begin with a fundamental understanding of the linkage between information science, computer science, and health care.  The degree is also open to those who wish to expand on previous experience in the health care field, especially health informatics professionals who would like to sharpen and more specifically apply the basic skills they’ve picked up in the field.  This emphasis on combining real-world, learned skills with the potential of integrating new approaches and concepts is ideal for students who are invested in the health care industry as a long-term career choice.  Existing professionals will appreciate the directnesss and applicability of the offered courses.

For more information about Kaplan University’s Online Masters Program, go here.

6.  Regis University

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Regis’ program is tailored specifically to professionals who already have experience in nursing, healthcare administration, and other medical experience and wish to understand the new realities of medical billing and data management.  Doctors who may have years in the field but only a few minutes of computer experience will benefit from this course of study, which aims to demystify the complexities of the process while simultaneously introducing helpful techniques to keep professionals abreast of the latest changes in the industry.  Professionals may select a particular emphasis, including studies in business management, medical practice management, and administration and program direction.  The program has a core requirement of 36 credit hours, which are evenly split between HL Specialization requirements and core requirements.

For more information about Regis University’s Online Masters Program, go here.

7.  Walden University

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Although Walden welcomes the uninitiated into its comprehensive and practical degree in Health Informatics, medical professionals will find this program to be particularly useful in terms of developing their data management skills.  The program is rooted in the notion that a fuller understanding of how data management works enables medical professionals to contribute better holistic care in all areas of their practice, whether they have an individual business, or are part of a massive hospital system.  Students will find that the program integrates real world scenarios with abstract conceptual explorations of the reach and influence of technology and the effects of data tracking and management.  This focus helps professionals interact with their patients in a way that does not neglect the human element of patient care, yet simultaneously helps them create a better and more efficient process for dealing with a large number of patients.

For more information about Walden University’s Online Masters Program, go here.

8.  Herzing University

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Herzing approaches healthcare from the vantage point that it is not only one of the most rapidly expanding fields in the United States, but also likely one that will grow in complexity both from an administrative and ethical standpoint.  The sheer number of professionals involved, combined with the wide geographic span and different cultural norms and expectations, makes this field both dynamic and incredibly challenging.  To prepare students for entry into what will undoubtedly be a fast-moving and demanding field, the program emphasizes the development of management skills.  This enables program participates to effortlessly segue into becoming a Director of Development or a Chief Executive Officer.  In this sense, Herzing’s program is perfect for those students or professionals who envision themselves in a governance role, and wish to master the skills necessary to see that career path through.

For more information about Herzing University’s Online Masters Program, go here.

9.  Southern New Hampshire University

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Understanding how to effectively motivate, manage, and coordinate a business in healthcare is a course requiring an ample amount of study and background.   Southern New Hampshire University offers its students the opportunity to study the intricacies of psychology and management while also interacting with other students and teachers via special live conferences and meetings.  This aspect of the program is vital for students who wish to understand how the complexity of human interaction fundamentally changes the dynamics and environment of any business, but especially one with as many nuances and potential challenges as those based in health care. The University is ranked highly in part because of its extensive credentialing in the MBA field. This solid business understanding will enable those who participate in the program to approach any healthcare situation with confidence and capability.

For more information about Southern New Hampshire University’s Online Masters Program, go here.

10.  American Sentinel University

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The 36 hour health informatics degree offered by American Sentinel enables students to quickly adapt to real-world scenarios, including the need to effectively present complex data to both technologically savvy and non-savvy groups.  The program also emphasizes the notion of concise analytics across a wide variety of data sets, which is a vital skill in what is predicted to be not just a growing field, but an intensely complicated one.  By understanding how to relate to a wide swath of stakeholders, students will quickly become invaluable members of any team they join by providing the translation between deeply technical, possibly obscure data formats and newer, more accessible platforms and tools. Although technology exists nearly everywhere in the world, those who can effectively interpret it, especially in a time-sensitive health care situation, are expected to be among the most wanted new professionals in this industry.

For more information about American Sentinel University’s Online Masters Program, go here.

What if I Want to Expand My Education Beyond My Medical Coding and Billing Certification?

expAt this moment in time, the health profession is undergoing some major changes and improvements, and one of the areas that is most exciting is information management. Every hospital, no matter how small, now must manage a truly enormous amount of information for each patient. Sometimes, this information has to do with bill payments, and sometimes, this information is actually designed to preserve a patient’s life. If you are someone who has already completed their medical billing and coding training and interested in expanding your knowledge within the medical profession, a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management might be the degree program for you!

Coding and Billing and More

When you are interested in medical coding and medical billing, you already know that there are certifications that are designed to give you the skills that you need. However, if your interests in this area go beyond simply doing the tasks themselves and towards building the systems that they rely upon, you should take a look at Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management. A bachelor’s degree in this program allows you to take the next step when it comes to data management, and in addition to helping you rise in the system, it can open you to a whole new way of looking at your work.

Logical Progression

For many people, a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management is the next logical step. This degree is one that is increasingly chosen by people who have already earned an active RHIT certification or who have completed a degree in Health Information Technology. This is something that can increase your earning potential, and it provides you with more of the challenges that you have come to love. Other people simply have a deep interest in information protection and management, and this allows you to use your skills in an essential and exciting way.

Employment Opportunities For Individuals with a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management

When you are looking at obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management, you should also be looking ahead to the kinds of career opportunities available to you post graduation. For example, many of the jobs that you can secure will naturally be centered around hospital work. In addition to the medical coding and billing positions that you will be qualified for, you can also take management positions as a system manager, an information department director or a clinical data specialist. Essentially, you will be in charge of curating the information that a hospital is responsible for maintaining. It will be your duty to not only protect it, but also to make sure that it is available. You might also be put in charge of marketing initiatives or informational programs that will make the system clearer to others.

On top of that, you will also find that you are qualified to work in public clinics and private physician offices. A little further afield, if you decide that you have a passion for the way that data systems are set up, you might find that you are invested in taking positions with IT and software vendors, or even with insurance companies or the government. Depending on your level of expertise and experience, you might also find yourself working as a consultant.

Necessary Classes

When you are looking into a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management, you may wonder what kind of classes you have to get the degree. Though the classes will vary from university to university, you will find that some of them are very common. For example, you will likely need to take classes on data security and on financial management, where you make sure that the system works with the budget that it is using. You’ll also find that you need to take a functions and services class, where you will look at what the system you are going to be managing really provides, and you will also likely be taking a quality management class, where the system’s quality assurance is discussed. You may also find yourself drawn towards classes on statistics and research, especially if you have an interest in the healthcare’s data system on an architectural level. As you progress further with this degree, your interests will be sharpened and you can find classes that best suit your needs and your interests.

Is a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management what you have been looking for? Many people are drawn to the coding and billing fields yet find they wish to expand their educational foundation and career prospects. Often these people embark on completing training within Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management programs to do just that!