As a growing number of healthcare providers continue to transition from paper to electronic medical records, the need for top-notch healthcare information systems (HIS) professionals continues to grow as well. In fact, U.S. Department of Labor statistics show a 20 percent increase in HIS jobs between now and 2018.
All this makes the timing of Sacred Heart’s new Master’s of Science in Healthcare Informatic (formerly Healthcare Information Systems) ideal. “The program responds to many major reforms going on in healthcare today," said Director Stephen Burrows, DPM, MBA, CPHIMS. "It will develop clinical professionals’ ability to use new technology to manage patient care, improve quality of care and — very important – improve the cost of delivering that care."
The first core classes for the 36-credit program will be offered in January 2013. Focused on providing knowledge about emerging HIS technology, administrative and clinical software applications, electronic health records, research methods and finance management, the program is designed to prepare graduates to work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, private practices and skilled nursing facilities.
Enrollment will be on a rolling basis, with students given the option to attend either full or part time. Classes will take place both on campus and online, said Burrows, who before coming to Sacred Heart was assistant director of Management of Information Systems for New Milford Hospital. He’s also a podiatrist.
“As someone who’s worked on both the direct patient care and IT (Information Technology) side of healthcare, I know how disparate these two sides can be. It can be difficult for one side to effectively talk with the other, but that’s exactly what today’s healthcare world requires,” Burrows said. “Caregivers and tech gurus need to work together more than ever, and they need to understand each other. Our HIS program will train people to be knowledgeable liaisons and leaders in the field.”
Students in the program are expected to include:
- Nurses or other clinical caregivers looking to expand their technological expertise or change careers
- Physician practice office managers, or other staff, involved in converting paper medical records to electronic ones
- IT professionals wanting to better understand how to integrate healthcare with technology
- Healthcare software vendors who need to better understand their clients’ growing needs
- Recent undergrads or others who are interested, and see the expected growth, in the field
“Healthcare Informatics is a field growing at such a startling rate that it’s almost impossible to pinpoint exactly who should be in this program, because there will probably be someone new to add tomorrow,” said Burrows. “Healthcare Informatics is in its infancy, but we're excited that we have as part of our program those who are today’s senior leaders in the field, working both in healthcare and information technology, and staying on both industries’ leading edge.”
Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0, and the ability to demonstrate technical proficiency. For those need to come up to speed technologically, foundation classes are available. For more information, contact Kathy Dilks in the Office of Graduate Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-396-8259.