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Misericordia University Health Care Informatics Program Adds Master of Science Degree

The degree will complement its undergraduate certificate program to meet the need for skilled workers in the expanding field of health care informatics in Northeastern Pennsylvania and across the nation.

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The Misericordia University Health Care Informatics (HCI) Program has added a Master of Science degree to complement its undergraduate certificate program to meet the need for skilled workers in the expanding field of health care informatics in Northeastern Pennsylvania and across the nation. Classes for the 39-credit graduate program begin in the fall.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education formally approved the master’s degree in health informatics in April. The University’s HCI program is designed to provide professional and continuing education in health informatics along with research and community outreach services. It teaches how to best use information, information management, and information technology to improve patient care and support the health care business and clinical communities.

The master’s degree in HCI is geared toward mid-career working professionals that want to advance their careers by preparing for senior management roles in health care informatics. Applicants in fields such as nursing, occupational therapy, business administration and health care management with a bachelor’s degree and significant job experience can complete the new program in as little as 12 months. The HCI master’s program is delivered in a blended format that primarily includes on-line coursework with three weekend experiences over two years on campus. Upon completion of the graduate program, students will be prepared to enter roles such as chief information officer, chief medical information officer, chief nursing information officer, chief enterprise architect and more in valued health care organizations.

Health care informatics addresses the information management and technology aspects of clinical and business applications, public health, and biomedical sciences. It includes information support for areas such as clinical and patient care areas like telehealth, teleradiology, on-line prescribing and electronic health records. It also extends into financial transactions, privacy issues, health care research and Internet-based consumer research.

Both the master’s degree and the undergraduate certificate program feature courses in information management and information technology, as well as courses in medical-legal issues and technology leadership. Various courses in the programs also address ethical issues and project management.

The undergraduate certificate program is delivered through the Misericordia University Center for Adult and Continuing Education’s popular Expressway Accelerated Degree program. Expressway has a proven track record of providing convenient and flexible options for adult learners who want to return to school or continue their education. At $350 per credit, Expressway also offers a low tuition rate as well. The 15-credit undergraduate certificate seeks to assist professionals who are employed in entry-level or mid-level jobs in the field and want to improve their educational background and skills. The certificate can be completed in as little as three semesters in a part-time format. Upon completion of the certificate, graduates will be able to analyze, design and manage the deployment and operation of information systems within health care organizations.

All HCI undergraduate courses can also be applied toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Management. Both programs are designed for professionals and students in health care fields, such as nursing, medical imaging, occupational therapy, physical therapy, management information systems, information technology and business.

Early estimates by the federal government showed that about 212,000 jobs could be created in e-health programs, according to a CNN Money.com article. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates job growth in this area will be 16 percent annually through 2018 — greater than the average for all other occupations. For more information about the Health Care Informatics Program at Misericordia University, please contact the Center for Adult and Continuing Education at (570) 674-1225 or log on to www.misericordia.edu.

Misericordia University’s HCI Program is under the direction of Mark Diehl, D.D.S., M.A., M.P.H., a licensed health care provider who has more than 30 years of experience specializing in HCI. He is a nationally recognized leader in the health informatics standards community and is an invited author and speaker at professional conferences.