U.S. News and World Report quotes Charles Friedman of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, as saying of healthcare informatics, "This field is exploding." More and more hospitals, physician offices and health systems are creating electronic healthcare records to provide instantaneous and accurate patient medical records. Recognizing this field is becoming increasingly popular, Best Medical Degrees recently published a listing of the 10 Cheapest Online Bachelor Degrees in Healthcare Informatics and is following that with this listing of 10 Cheapest Online Masters Degree in Health Care Informatics.
With a 15% ten year growth rate (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), this field may offer a salary range from $139,600 to $148,000 annually; and, the aggressive use of information technology and cyber security by healthcare organizations, private practices and state and federal agencies, makes this a very attractive field for the technologically adept individual.
Federal law demands that patient records are secure and confidential as defined in the Healthcare Insurance Portability Accessibility Act (HIPAA) with substantial fines for violations of patient records. The role of the Healthcare Informatics manager or director is key in creating a secure method of securing and providing records to achieve the best outcome for quality patient care.
Several options are available for those who want to advance their degree. You should always check with school or program to which you're applying to see if they offer any type of fellowship or merit based scholarships for graduate students.
Federal Student Aid
There are various forms of financial aid offered by the U.S. Government for students including grants, scholarships and student loans. However, most graduate students are eligible only for loans. Information may be found on the Department of Education website Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Veterans, Spouses and Dependents
Many schools offer military discounts for active, or retired, military personnel; and, some offer tuition discounts for spouses and legal dependents. It's worth checking with the school's bursar to see if you might qualify for such a discount
Employee Tuition Assistance
In professions, like healthcare informatics, many employers may provide tuition assistance for those employees wanting to further their career options. Most Human Resource departments can tell you if this is a benefit offered by your employer.
Using information from U.S. News and World Report, Bureau of Labor Statistics and other higher education sources (i.e., accrediting organizations), Best Medical Degrees has developed a list of ten of the cheapest, online Healthcare Informatics masters degrees offered online from accredited schools.
1. The University of Central Florida
This Orlando, Florida university was established in 1963 and defines itself as the second largest university in the country with 13 colleges and over 63,000 students. UCF was ranked as one of the nation's Most Innovative Universities in U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review and Kiplinger's ranked UCF as a best values universities for a college education. The Master of Science in Health Informatics is 100% online through UCF's Continuing Education division.
The curriculum for this degree covers coursework in health care informatics and information technology, systems analysis and design, health care data base management, as well as a capstone project. Classes are available in 8 credit hour blocks per semester; and, the degree may be completed in two years with a semester of 3 credit hours for the capstone project or internship.
Length of Program: 38 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost Per Semester: $1,666.00
2. Louisiana Tech University
Part of the state university system of Louisiana, Louisiana Tech University is based in Ruston, Louisiana and offers a 100% online MS in Health Informatics through the College of Applied and Natural Science. The Master's in Health Informatics (MHI) is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Health Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Established in 1894, LTU currently has an enrollment in excess of 9,000 students.
The Masters in Health Informatics (MHI) is offered through LTU's College of Applied and Natural Science. Studies include healthcare information systems, introduction to health informatics, electronic health records, clinical information systems and database architecture, etc. Designed for a wide cross culture, it's not necessary for a student to have a bachelor's degree in health care to apply to and complete this MHI. This program doesn't require a GRE for admission. All graduate students in this program pay in-state tuition; however, there is a $100 per credit hour additional, online fee.
Length of Program: 45 Credit Hours
Estimated Cost of Tuition Per Semester: $2,945.00
3. University of Massachusetts-Lowell
As with most schools of its era, the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, started in 1894 as the State Normal School with the primary goal of educating teachers. This school eventually divided into the Lowell Technological Institute and Lowell State College. Facing financial difficulties, the school nearly closed in the 1950s but was saved by a group of influential citizens who petitioned the state to assist in keeping the school open. In 1975, the two schools merged to form the University of Lowell; and, eventually joined the state school system of Massachusetts as it is today.
UMASS-Lowell offers a Master's Degree in Health Informatics with two concentrations, management and health informatics. This is a blended program that is provided online, but also requires some face-to-face classroom time. The informatics concentration focuses on the impact that electronic medical records and the blending of healthcare records with computer databases in respect to quality patient care. The management focus looks to develop administrative, analytical and policy abilities in healthcare informatics. Ranked #30 in its Best Online Technology Programs, this program is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges as well as the Computer Sciences Accreditation Board.
Length of Program: 36 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost Per Semester:$3,430.00
4. SUNY Downstate Medical Center
The official name of this school is State University of New York at Brooklyn, but has long been called SUNY Downstate Medical Center by local residents. It's history dates back to 1860 when the Long Island College Hospital was founded. Today, SUNY Downstate Medical Center is home to five colleges encompassing Medicine, Graduate Studies, Nursing, Health Related Professions and Public Health and has an estimated enrollment of over 1700 students. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The online degree in Medical Informatics is a Masters program which includes such studies as Computer Science For Medical Informatics, Health Care Delivery In the US, Health Care Delivery Professional Seminar, Introduction to Medical Informatics and Healthcare Computer Network Architecture. Students are prepared to problem solve database issues, understand the use of patient data in treatment, administrative quality assurance and reimbursement and the security of such records.
Length of Program: 39 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost Per Semester: $5,435 (Resident); $11,105 (Non-Resident)
5. The University of Maryland University College
Located in the Baltimore-Washington area and boasts one of the nation's largest distance education institution. Founded in 1947 as the College of Special and Continuation Studies, the school was renamed in 1959; and, now offers 18 online graduate degrees. UMUC also has a robust commitment to the military with "campuses" currently in Afghanistan and Djibouti, with faculty and staff providing support on military bases there.
The Master of Science in Health Informatics Administration program is accredited by CHIIM and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and and has a dual emphasis in healthcare administration and informatics. Coursework in health data management, information technology foundations, legal aspects of healthcare administration, application of information technology in health care administration, etc. Prospective candidates must have at least three years experience in health care or information technology. The program offers a tuition discount for out-of-state federal employees, spouses and legal dependents.
Length of Program: 36 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost Per Semester: $5,495 (Resident); $7,908 (Non-Residents)
6. University of Illinois-Chicago
UIC saw it's roots begin in 1859 with the opening of a private pharmacy school along with the opening of the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Columbian College of Dentistry. These three schools merged in 1961 to become the University of Illinois at the Medical Center. With decades of growth in its medical facilities, in 1982, the University of Illinois-Chicago was formed. Today, the school has an enrollment of over 16,000 and has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of its Best National Universities and its Top Public Schools rankings.
The UIC offers a Master's In Health Informatics degree that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and the university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The program offers real-world exposure to system integration and healthcare systems, examining healthcare data collection and it's merger with Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR). Courses include healthcare data, application of healthcare systems, communication skills in health informatics, healthcare IT vendor management, etc.
Length of Program: 45-40 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost Per Semester: $6,125.00
7. University of Minnesota Institute for Health Informatics
The University of Minnesota, in 1965, received a National Institute of Health grant to research and develop a Biomedical Data Processing Unit, making the school one of the pioneers in healthcare informatics. In 1974, the school received the notable National Library of Medicine Grant for Training in Health Computer Sciences, which help begin the graduate program in healthcare informatics at the University of Minnesota. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as #69 in its Best National Universities, the school has also been ranked #25 in the Top Schools and highly ranks as a veteran friendly institution.
This Master of Science in Health Informatics program offers three degrees in: Master of Health Informatics (MHI), Master of Science (MS), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The institute offers two funding opportunities for graduate students in the form of teaching/research scholarships and merit based scholarships. The course of study includes classes in health informatics, clinical informatics and patient safety, health data analytics and data science and a capstone project. The degree can be achieved in three semesters.
Length of Program: 31 Credit Hours
Estimated Cost of Tuition Per Semester: $8,120 (Resident); $12,560 (Non Resident)
8. American Sentinel University
Established in 2006, with the merger of the American Graduate School of Management (Denver, Colo.), Sentinel University (Denver, Colo.) and the American College of Computer and Information Sciences (Birmingham, Ala.), this university has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report for its online MSN degree and has been cited by G.I. Jobs as a military friendly school. A for profit university, American Sentinel is headquartered in Aurora, Colorado and maintains accreditation by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) (Bachelor of Science Nursing and Master of Science Nursing programs); The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
This is a unique program, in that it is a MSN in Nursing Informatics degree. Developed for the BSN who has an interest in the use of technology in assuring quality patient care. Coursework includes study in clinical and administrative systems, health care informatics, healthcare data analytics, healthcare project management and information security and privacy in health care environments, among others. The university offers a generous credit transfer maximum of 18 credit hours. There is a capstone project for this MSN degree.
Length of Program: 36 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost Per Semester: $9,000.00
9. The Ohio State University-Columbus
This land-grant, public university was established in 1870 as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College and graduated its first class of six men in 1878 and the first woman in 1879. The university's development is credited to President Rutherford B. Hayes, who as then governor of Ohio, petitioned for the establishment of a state university. President Hayes was later to say the establishment of Ohio Stat University and Ohio's passage of the 15th Amendment (prohibiting the denial of voting rights by race, color or previous condition of slavery) as his two greatest achievements.
The Health Informatics Masters degree at OSU is offered through the university's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and provides a curriculum focused on all phases of electronic records maintenance from acquisition, retrieval, storage and utilization of patient records. Coursework span three colleges, including Health and Rehabilitation, Health Information Management and Systems, Accounting and Management Information Systems and Computer and Information Science. Ohio State University has received a #52 ranking for Best National Universities, #42 Best Colleges for Veterans and #16 Top Public Schools by U.S. News and World Report. Ohio State University is accredited by North Central Association of Colleges and Schools as well as CAHIIM.
Program Length: 30 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost Per Semester: $9,550 (Residents); $19,550 (Non-Residents)
10. Kent State University
Located in Kent, Ohio, Kent State University was founded in 1910 as a teacher's college, KSU has a current student enrollment of over 28,000 students. KSU offers over 300 degrees in its 13 colleges. The school has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report's 2016 in the Top 100 Best Schools in 2016. This school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). This Master of Science in Health Informatics is housed in the university's School of Library and Information Science.
Coursework for this degree includes legal issues in healthcare information, health records systems and management, information technologies and change management in health informatics, among others. The degree is 100% online and provides either a thesis or non-thesis option. U.S. News and World Report also recognized the School of Library and Information Science with a #18 ranking in its Best Graduate Schools listing.
Length of Program: 36 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost Per Semester: $11,090 (Residents); $19,362 (Non Residents)