Health informatics is among the fastest growing undergraduate courses in the USA.
The Faculty of Health and Human Services at George Mason University is proud to announce the launch of the first self-employed Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics degree in Virginia. The degree integrates health sciences, information technology, computer science, data science and behavioral sciences. This interdisciplinary program is designed to provide graduates with practical and specialized skills in health informatics to improve individual care and public health. “The Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics was created to improve public health by applying useful health information, while providing professional employers at the beginning of their careers who can enter the field directly,” said Janusz Wojtusiak, associate professor in the Department of Health Administration and Policy director of health informatics. The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) noted the need for “efforts to develop training and education in basic health informatics … to accelerate the transformation of health care through the collection, analysis and application of data directly in decisions about care “. Graduates of the program will be prepared to work as part of interdisciplinary professional teams, biomedical research teams and public health agencies to improve the health of the population.
Graduates in health informatics work with skill sets and silos to face challenges such as the adoption of electronic health records, data collection and analysis and technical support. The combination of technical and social skills combined with the interdisciplinary nature of the skills makes healthcare IT professionals at highly sought-after career stages.
According to Hanover Research, IT and health courses are among the fastest growing undergraduate courses in the country. (2018)[i] The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the demand for medical records and health information management skill sets is expected to grow 8% over the next 10 years – which is much faster than the average.[ii]
The 120 credit hour program will include intensive experiential learning requirements – an exclusive component of all college programs. A pre-internship course prepares students with the skills and knowledge to identify, apply and obtain an approved internship. Students work closely with preceptors and teachers in their field to get the most out of their internship experience. HAP’s faculty maintains extensive relationships with practice sites that provide real-world experience for students, such as community health clinics, public health agencies and health insurers. Students can also choose an accelerated BS to MS option in health informatics that allows the program to be completed in about 5 years for the combined BS-MS.
“The faculty at HAP invests heavily to ensure that students have a successful internship experience. We help connect students with internships that suit their interests and provide ongoing guidance to ensure their long-term success. Mentors help synthesize experiences and learn from on-the-job training and apply what they are learning in the classroom to the real world, ”said PJ Maddox, chairman of the Department of Health Policy and Administration.“ The relationships and connections of the body teaching across the industry create valuable practice opportunities. ”
“Although currently there are no external accreditation standards for undergraduate health informatics programs, we will seek this accreditation when available, to complement our CAHIIM-accredited Master’s program in Health Informatics.” said Wojtusiak. “The bachelor’s degree in health informatics is a natural progression in health informatics at Mason which, in addition to the bachelor’s degree, offers a master’s degree, doctorate concentration, postgraduate certificate and specialization”, he added. With a growing focus on expanding public health degree programs in Virginia, George Mason University is also the first in the Commonwealth to offer an accredited PhD in Public Health. Strong collaborations between health informatics and public health professors and students are part of the interdisciplinary nature of the faculty.
The program will be launched in the fall of 2021. Information about the program and requirements can be found at George Mason University 2021 course catalog.
About the Faculty of Health and Human Services
George Mason University’s Faculty of Health and Human Services prepares students to become leaders and shape public health through academic excellence, consequence research, community outreach and interprofessional clinical practice. George Mason is the fastest growing Research I institution in the country. The college enrolls more than 1,900 undergraduate students and 1,370 graduate students in its nationally recognized offerings, including: 6 undergraduate courses, 13 graduate courses and 7 certification programs. The college is in transition to a public health college in the near future. For more information visit https://chhs.gmu.edu/.
[i] Hanover Survey, 10 best undergraduate courses on the rise and decline, 2018.
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[ii] Secretariat of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm