UTHSC Launches New Master’s Degree in Information Management

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Beginning January 2007, the College of Allied Health Sciences’ Department of Health Informatics and Information Management will launch a new online curriculum designed to help professionals thrive in a technology-supported healthcare environment.

Beginning January 2007, the College of Allied Health Sciences’ Department of Health Informatics and Information Management will launch a new online curriculum designed to prepare professionals to thrive in a technology-supported and information-driven healthcare environment. The new degree, a Master’s of Health Informatics and Information Management, will be offered by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC).

Recent labor statistics reaffirm the need for the program. By 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor projects a 49 percent growth in the demand for health information management workers. “This demand is expected to intensify as health records move from a paper to electronic system, thus increasing the need for skills in data analysis, database management, data integrity, compliance with information regulations, and protection of health records and information,” said Rebecca B. Reynolds, MHA (Master of Healthcare Administration), assistant professor and interim director of the new program.

“A strong health information management and informatics workforce is critical to achieving the return-on-the-technology investment in electronic health record systems and health information exchange,” stated Reynolds. “Informatics teaches healthcare providers how to use electronic information to make better patient care decisions. These professionals also must be academically prepared to lead the planning and implementation of new technologies.”

Geared toward the working healthcare professionals, this program prepares the graduate for responsibilities in areas such as healthcare data resources administration, healthcare data security oversight, strategic and operational information resource planning, clinical data analysis and much more.

The curriculum includes 33 semester hours offered in an online format. Not only will the online program allow flexibility so that professionals do not need to modify their work schedules, but the curriculum also will allow students to immediately apply their classroom knowledge to their jobs.

While the existing baccalaureate program centers on comprehension of concepts to allow application, the master’s model focuses on problem analysis and evaluation, particularly at senior leadership levels in healthcare facilities.

The formal process to implement a master’s curriculum at UTHSC began in 2000. Since that time UTHSC Department of Health Informatics and Information Management faculty members have gained input, as well as support from national accreditation organizations.

The Department of Health Informatics and Information Management will be accepting applicants for January until the class of 25 is full. New students will be admitted in January and September of every year. Next year April 1 will be the deadline for the September start date, and August 1 will be the deadline for starting class in January. For more information regarding the curriculum, contact Rebecca B. Reynolds at (901) 448-6486 or informatics@uthsc.edu.