health professional using data

Understanding health informatics

  • Health informatics is the use of data and technology that is applied to population health as well as to improve patient care. For additional information, see the American Medical Informatics Associations (AMIA) website page, Why Informatics.

  • While the two fields share some competencies, the focus of health information management is managing and securing the data, whereas health informatics uses data and technology for purposes of caring for patients and populations.

  • Health informatics positions can be found in hospitals, clinics, public health organizations, research organizations, health insurance companies, biotech companies, and health technology companies, as well as many other settings.

    • Clinical quality or data analyst
    • Clinical insights analyst
    • Health outcomes analyst
    • Population health analyst
    • Business intelligence analyst-product (health technology company)
    • Nurse informaticist (nurse with nursing informatics training)
    • Pharmacy informaticist (PharmD with pharmacy informatics training)
    • Investigate the underlying cause of increased emergency department admissions for patients presenting with airway problems.
    • Interview customers to collect a list of new features for the next major product release.
    • Develop new screens for the electronic medical record (EMR)
    • Facilitate telehealth encounters between physicians and patients.
    • Address documentation burden through improved interoperability between systems.
  • People who work in the informatics field come from a variety of backgrounds. Some have clinical backgrounds who may have wanted to leave direct patient care but remain in healthcare. Others come from information technology or information systems and wanted to work in healthcare. Still others have a background in linguistics and work on natural language processing (NLP), while others have backgrounds in data science and work with large datasets and artificial intelligence (AI). And then there are those who have none of these backgrounds.

  • This career is a good option if you:

    • Have an interest in healthcare that is not hands-on care.
    • Enjoy solving complex problems.
    • Like to work across disciplines.
    • Have good oral and written communication skills.
    • Have a willingness to learn.
  • Personal qualities: Attentive to details, curious, creative, collaborative, always learning.

    Non-technical skills: Manage competing priorities and stakeholders, excellent oral and written communication at all levels of the organization.

    Tools and programs: SQL, R or Python, Excel, and data visualization and reporting apps such as Tableau, Power BI, and Crystal Reports.

    Technical skills: Statistics, database management, data mining, quality improvement, requirements gathering, project management.

    Data familiarity: Healthcare data structure, DRGs, EMRs, claims, big data, complex datasets.

What is the Health Informatics, MS program at Pace University?

  • There are 10 three-credit courses in the curriculum. Five of the courses are offered through the College of Health Professionals and five are offered through the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Management. This program is balanced with an equal number of analytical courses and courses related to healthcare operations.

  • Upon graduation from this program, you will have an overview of the healthcare landscape, from clinicians to policy, an overview of the types of Health Information Technology (HIT), knowledge of legislation and policy related to privacy, and security, and skills in project management (waterfall and scrum). In addition, you will be able to program in R, use Hadoop for big data, use Tableau and R for data visualization, and you will have knowledge about human-computer interaction.

  • You will be enrolled in 2 courses per term, an analytical course offered through the Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems and a healthcare operations course offered through the College of Health Professions.

  • This program is only offered in a part-time format, two courses during each term. The program is targeted to meet the needs of students who may work full-time or have many responsibilities.

  • The MSHI program can be completed in as little as 5 terms, assuming a year-round continuous enrollment.

  • The program is all online and taught asynchronously, that is, you are not required to be online at a specific time. This format is appealing to anyone who has a non-traditional or demanding schedule.

  • Learning online is different than being in a classroom. There is no set place to be, and you are not engaging with your classmates in real time. Here are some tips that can help you be successful.

    • Find a little time each day to study will be better than trying to find big chunks of time.
    • Discuss the readings and assignments with your classmates in real time. This practice will help you understand the content better and you are exposed to others’ perspectives.
    • If writing is not one of your strong skills, consider working with the Writing Center at the beginning of the term instead of just before an assignment is due. Also look for any writing blogs such as Grammar Girl or free writing classes to get your writing muscle in shape.
    • Use additional learning resources if the readings and assignments don’t make sense to you.
    • Contact your instructor with questions and concerns in advance of the due date.
  • Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and demonstrate scholastic aptitude. No standardized admission tests are required.

  • This program does not require that you have a background in technology or healthcare. You will need to have basic computer skills as well as word processing and spreadsheet skills. Most importantly, you will need to be motivated, make time to study, and have the mental energy to complete the required reading and assignments.

  • The cost per credit hour is $1,150 (or approximately $3,450 per course).

  • Although this program is not eligible for merit/academic scholarship, there are other ways that you can subsidize the cost of your education. We encourage applicants to complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as review the CHP list of available scholarships. Pace University also offers monthly payment plans, which enables students or their families to pay monthly installments on their account toward tuition, fees, etc.

  • Graduate Assistantships provide opportunities for students enrolled in a master’s, DNP, or PhD program to work on research, teaching, and special projects while receiving tuition remission and a stipend. The Advancing Leadership, Partnerships, and Scholarship (ALPS) office provides support to students and also serves as a resource to students interested in these opportunities. The ALPS staff can be reached by email or by calling (914) 773-3636.

  • The rule of thumb is that you will need to study two to three hours per week per credit hour. These courses are three hours each so you should expect to devote six to nine hours of study per week per course or twelve to eighteen hours for both courses.

  • Your classmates will come from a variety of backgrounds. They may have worked in healthcare or the technology sector. They could also be career changers who want to make a difference in how healthcare is delivered. Moreover, the backgrounds of your classmates can vary depending on the course. If you are taking an analytics course, you will be learning with graduate students in Information Systems. If you are taking a course with the HINF prefix, you will usually be in a class with another cohort in the program. The exception will be the final semester when you take HINF 691 Evidence Based Practice and Research, the course which includes the practicum component.

  • To be eligible to take the Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam, you will need to have 35 hours of project management training and 36 months of leading projects within the last eight years. The project management course in this program, HINF 635 Clinical Systems B, does not fulfill the training requirement. However, it will help you in any project management training program you take.

  • The program is not yet accredited by Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM). However, the program is designed to align with the 10 health informatics competencies, a piece of the accreditation requirements.

What is a practicum, and why do I need it for this degree?

  • The practicum is an opportunity to bring together all that you’ve learned in the program. This is your chance to dive deeper into a topic that has piqued your interest. It is also a chance to “try on” a job with limited commitment. You will be required to fulfill 120 hours of service over the semester which is roughly 8.5 hours per week.

  • The practicum is a project that you design with your preceptor and is approved by the program director. You will submit a form which outlines your project, a timeline to complete the project, and a description of what you will produce/submit at the end of the semester.

  • You will find your own sites, reflective of your interests and career aspirations. Pace has a rich array precepting agreements for clinical students and will assist students who are unsure of which area to focus in, and in establishing new contacts.

  • Yes, you can conduct your practicum at your workplace; however, your preceptor cannot also be your manager/supervisor.