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Davenport offers health informatics degree
Today’s students might need to get a master’s degree just to figure out how America’s health care system works — or doesn’t work.
In the wake of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s complex and troubled implementation, educators at Davenport University have announced the launch of a master of science in health informatics and information management, a first of its kind in Michigan.
“Davenport’s College of Health Professions is excited to offer this new and innovative addition to our list of graduate-level programs,” said Karen Daley, health professions dean. “This degree will prepare practitioners for advanced careers and leadership roles related to the information-dependent environment of health care.”
The 36 graduate-credit program, which has been in the works at Davenport for about a year, is set to launch in January.
The degree is setup to be completely taken online, although some courses can be taken as in-seat classes in Grand Rapids, said T.J. Hunt, associate dean and assistant professor of health information management.
The online courses are offered in a seven week accelerated format, he said, and working professionals can take one class at a time year round, with expected completion in about two years.
Although the courses will be taught by faculty from the business, technology and health areas, Davenport is seeking a program director with a doctoral degree and registered health information administrator credentials, Hunt said.
Students with backgrounds in health care or technology will be well suited to the degree.
Tuition is estimated to be about $7,000 per year.
“Initial feedback from advisory committees, employers and potential students has been very positive,” Hunt said. “Expectations are for an inaugural class of 20 students in January from across the country and growth from there. Over 20 percent of DU’s undergraduate health information bachelor degree students are from outside of Michigan and by utilizing online courses, it is expected the MS in HIIM will reach outside of Michigan as well.”
Spectrum of information
The degree is planned to address the entire spectrum of information use, Hunt said, dealing with why and how it is collected, how is it protected, data analytics of leveraging the information, the implementation of technology and examining the business case for both the technology and information use in the overall strategy of health care delivery.
The program includes a sequence of courses in data security from the College of Technology, which has been designated as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
Students also can take two additional courses and earn a graduate certificate in data analytics.
Health information roles
Hunt said graduates would be prepared for leadership roles and as high-level contributors working with data analysis, project management, health care privacy and security and electronic health record-related roles.
Hunt added that the degree is completely aligned with Davenport’s mission to prepare people and organizations to excel in the knowledge-driven environment of the 21st century and is a perfect fit for West Michigan’s growing technological and health driven economy.
“It also adds to the array of in-demand offerings based on market data,” Hunt said. “As West Michigan is home to multiple health care systems, it also fits into the industry’s plans to increase health information exchange for improved patient care.”
In announcing the degree, Davenport University said, "No other university in Michigan offers this specific degree."