USF medical school launches new Master’s in Health Informatics, all online

The list for high-demand jobs nearly always includes careers in health care. And among those, you’ll likely see health informatics, a field that is consistently in the top 10 growth areas for employment.

To help meet the ever growing demand for health informatics professionals, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine has begun offering a master’s degree that is completely online and has the unique advantage of being housed a medical school.

“USF Health has long been known for developing novel and innovative programs,” said Michael Barber, PhD, associate dean for USF Health’s Graduate and Postdoctoral program. “That same innovative quality is behind our new Master of Science Health Informatics program, the first in Florida – and maybe even the first in the country – that is associated with a medical school,” Dr. Barber said.

Michael Barber

Michael Barber, PhD

With the aim of providing technological innovation to improve patient care, manage costs and comply with federal and state healthcare regulations, health informatics focuses on the use of information and information technology to support clinical care, health services, administration, research and education. It emphasizes the acquisition, storage, retrieval and utilization of clinical, administrative and financial information in healthcare.

The USF program is a new approach to helping meet the workforce needs, Dr. Barber said.

“Information is not shrinking but expanding, and at a rapid pace,” Dr. Barber said. “This kind of program helps keep up.”

What differentiates the USF medical informatics program is that it is based within a college of medicine, while most other programs are based in business or computer sciences schools, Dr. Barber said.

“This aspect alone gives our graduates a decided advantage when they into their careers,” he said.

The USF Health program is scheduled to begin in summer 2013 and aims to admit 50 students.

Students will have up to five years to complete the courses requirements, but they could complete it within as little as 18 months, if they’re schedule allows for the accelerated pace.

Ideal students are those already in the healthcare environment, Dr. Barber said.

“We are taking a holistic view of applicants and looking at the student’s overall credentials, such as if they are already in a STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) field, not just scores on the GRE exam or MCAT exam,” he said.

The degree will be from the USF Morsani College of Medicine and most of the faculty teachers are medical faculty. In addition, as part of the USF curriculum students have access to campus libraries and are welcome to attend graduation, Dr. Barber said.

“Even though this program is 100 percent online, students are more than welcome to walk at graduation.”

Visit their introductory web site for more information about the program.