Earning a Ph.D. in Health Informatics Online

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November 18, 2020

Students who earn a Ph.D. in health informatics online learn to create, model, manage, and share health data. The curriculum strengthens a learner's ability to make time-sensitive healthcare decisions by leveraging information science and technology. This discipline considers the cultural, social, and organizational environments in which individuals use technology in healthcare-related industries.

Online Ph.D. programs in health informatics attract learners who wish to combine their technological, healthcare, and management interests to help develop evidence-based solutions to support people's well-being. Students should also be interested in improving the efficiency of healthcare technology to increase its positive impact.

Upon graduation, individuals who earn a Ph.D. in health informatics can pursue work as informatics directors, nutrition informaticists, and clinical informatics managers. Completing this doctorate online affords the convenience and flexibility working professionals often require to balance academic, professional, and personal demands.

What Can You Do with an Online Ph.D. in Health Informatics?

The best Ph.D. in health informatics online programs prepare graduates for influential careers that connect technology and healthcare. Successful professionals demonstrate strong analytical, critical thinking, and research capabilities when it comes to using IT to improve clinical work. These workers can also clearly articulate complex ideas to diverse audiences and collaborate effectively with others to encourage digital, data-driven best practices in healthcare.

Medical and Health Services Managers

These executives plan and direct health and medical services. They may oversee a healthcare facility or physician practice group. Responsibilities include working closely with healthcare providers to supervise staff, create/adhere to budgets, increase efficiency, and ensure compliance with laws.

Registered Nurses

RNs deliver patient care. Those who specialize in the field of health informatics may evaluate healthcare settings to decide how IT can improve efficiency. RNs train staff to use this technology and liaise with IT personnel, vendors, and users to help people understand technology's clinical applications and intended purposes.

Computer and Information Systems Managers

These professionals assess an organization's computer needs and determine appropriate upgrades for leadership's consideration. This job mandates cost analysis skills and an understanding of an organization's short-term and long-term goals. It also requires vendor negotiation skills. In addition, these workers plan and oversee hardware and software installation.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Top-Paying Industries for Medical and Health Services Managers

Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing

Scientific Research and Development Services

Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing

Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers

Business, Professional, Labor, Political, and Similar Organizations

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Traits of a Successful Health Informatics Graduate

Earning a doctorate in health informatics online builds students' organizational skills and attention to detail, helping them ensure the accuracy and completeness of medical records. Individuals should also possess outstanding technical competence when it comes to using computer software to interpret patients' medical records and correctly assign them to diagnosis-related groups. Professionals in this field should be active listeners who take time to understand what others are saying and make decisions accordingly. They should also possess strong reading comprehension skills, express themselves clearly in person and on paper, and apply logic when making important decisions.

[tab-list title="Skills for Success"]
You can use information like facts, data, and research findings to make a reasoned judgment. Your ability to do so allows you to draw conclusions by applying useful data to solve problems.
You understand the meaning of text and can integrate that knowledge with prior knowledge. You can also identify main ideas and draw inferences by linking word definitions to the context of written passages.
You can concentrate on a speaker's words, understand and remember them, ask necessary questions, and respond appropriately. This skill strengthens interpersonal communication to improve outcomes and avoid conflict.
[/tab-list]

Salary by Experience Level

Demand for graduates of online Ph.D. programs in health informatics continues to grow as medical records have become increasingly electronic. The more experience and up-to-date skills a professional in the field possesses, the greater their likelihood for career advancement and higher earnings. Employees in this area can expect a rise in pay as they mature in their career over time and assume more managerial responsibilities.

Source: PayScale

Certifications and Licenses a Ph.D. in Health Informatics Prepares For

Steps to Earning a Ph.D. in Health Informatics Online

Every Ph.D. in health informatics online degree program maintains its own requirements, but most programs follow a similar path to graduation. Review the following process to get a better idea of what to expect when it comes to earning your doctorate in health informatics online.

Find the Right Program for You

Determine which program best aligns with your interests. Explore available courses, review faculty and their expertise, and decide if a program's subject matter will prepare you for the career of your choice. You can also speak with current students and alumni to understand their experiences and learn how a program supported their professional pursuits. In addition, decide if you'd prefer a fully online or hybrid program format.

Apply

Admission into online accredited health informatics Ph.D. programs generally requires that you complete an application, submit transcripts, and, in some instances, prove that you possess professional experience. In addition, most schools ask applicants to draft a personal statement that explains why they want to enter the program. You may also need to secure letters of recommendation from former professors and supervisors who can attest to your ability to succeed in the program.

Capstone, Dissertation, or Thesis

To earn your degree, you may need to complete a capstone project that demonstrates mastery of classroom knowledge. This may require you to solve a practical challenge in a healthcare setting, either independently or with classmates. Furthermore, finishing your degree likely requires researching a topic of your choice and writing and defending a dissertation on it.

Fellowship or Internship

Carrying out an internship during your studies allows for hands-on learning relevant to your coursework. This experience may or may not be paid. You can also apply for postdoctorate fellowships, which can provide further training after your graduate. These competitive positions typically provide financial support and may include research funds to support data collection and analysis.

Curriculum for an Online Ph.D. in Health Informatics

  1. Data Management and Statistical Computing: This class introduces learners to the roles computers play in processing and analyzing data. It also explores techniques in research data management and statistical software packages like SAS for data management and reporting. This course typically requires previous studies in applied statistics.

  2. Big Data and NoSQL: This class takes into account the fact that information is generated at an exponential scale. For this reason, learners must know how to handle data that mandate heavy read/write workloads. Students explore an array of specific systems as key examples.

  3. Virtual Analytics: This class looks at data analysis and information visualization for the purpose of analytical reasoning using visual interfaces. Students examine fundamental concepts, recent results, and frequently used technologies. Course projects may require learners to program web-based visualization systems using JavaScript and HTML — prior programming experience may prove useful.

  4. Communication for Health-Related Decision-Making: Participants develop and build the skills needed to understand and improve the kinds of decision-making that affect others' health. In addition, students examine evidence-based applications of these theories to better understand practical implications and outcomes.

  5. Project Management Practices and Principles: This course strengthens a learner's ability to lead projects and the teams that execute them. In addition to helping students understand project management fundamentals, this course includes modules on management strategies, leadership capabilities, and ongoing quality improvement. It also considers organizational designs that best facilitate team-based settings.

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