On-Campus Online

Master of Science in Health Care Informatics

Curriculum & Specializations

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MS-HCI Curriculum Overview

USD’s MS-HCI curriculum is designed by a faculty and board of directors with industry experience who understand the breadth of knowledge and skills you’ll need to succeed in the field. Whether you choose to earn your degree online or at our San Diego campus, you’ll receive the same HIMSS-approved curriculum and graduate in less than two years.


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Specialization Options

HealthCare Informatics

The Health Care Informatics (HCI) specialization covers a wide range of technical, analytical and innovative health care technology skills that will enable students to be proficient in many health care applications.  It is ideal for students who are are new to health care informatics as well as those who want exposure to different aspects of the field without specializing in a single area. Students in this track can pursue a career as a health or clinical informaticist, health care consultant, EHR trainer or implementation specialist, clinical analyst or a health informatics team leader.

Healthcare Data Analytics

The Healthcare Data Analytics (HDA) specialization is intended for students who are passionate about a career in data science.  It is ideal for students who have some exposure to health informatics and are interested in working in data science, analytics or health informatics research. Many students who complete this track choose to pursue a career in health care research, data science and/or health care analytics and some will also go on to pursue doctoral-level studies in data science.

Program Learning Outcomes

All coursework in the MS-HCI program is aligned with AMIA’s core competencies (Foundational Domains) for master’s level graduate education in health informatics. Graduates of the program will be able to demonstrate knowledge, competency and skills within the following domains:

Health refers to the biomedical and health sciences underlying AMIA’s five major informatics areas:

  • translational bioinformatics
  • clinical research informatics
  • clinical informatics
  • consumer health informatics
  • population informatics.

The biomedical and health sciences aim to understand and improve human health. To identify and develop solutions to biomedical informatics problems, students must understand the history, goals, methods (including data and information used and produced), and current challenges of the major health sciences including human biology, genomics, clinical and translational science, healthcare delivery, personal health, and population health.

Information Science and Technology refers to the key concepts, methods, and tools for creating, acquiring, storing, representing, accessing, merging, organizing, processing, transferring, analyzing, reporting, and visualizing data, information, and knowledge. It also includes the methods and tools for protection of the data, information, and knowledge from unauthorized access. Included are understanding how information is used and the ability to assess the information needs of users. Familiarity is required with basic computer science terminology and concepts including terms and concepts related to information systems and computer programming, information retrieval, ontologies, business intelligence, analytics, and user interface design.

Social and Behavioral Science refers to basic social, behavioral, psychological, and management theories, methods, and models as well as the legal and regulatory frameworks that seek to describe human actions and interactions as well as human behavior in society. It includes concepts from fields such as sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, law, psychology, and management and cognitive sciences. It is concerned with the application of social, behavioral, psychological, and management theories, methods, and models to the design, implementation, and evaluation of health information behaviors at the levels of individual, social group, organizations, and society, which are influenced by laws and regulations. The purpose is to contribute to decreasing health damaging behaviors and improving health promoting behaviors and psychosocial well‐being through health informatics perspectives.

Health Information Science and Technology refers to the array of health information science and technology methods, tools, and standards for collecting, organizing, representing, sharing, integrating, using, governing, and learning from biomedical and health data, information, and knowledge, across the entire spectrum of informatics domains. Systems design and development addresses standards, integration, interoperability, and protection of information. These competencies also address computational thinking, which includes problem solving, systems design, and understanding human behavior, as associated with computer science.

Human Factors and Socio‐technical Systems refers to the interactions between human behaviors (physical, social, cognitive, and psychological) and information technologies. People and organizations are the ultimate users of health information and technologies. This domain draws on the social, behavioral, cognitive, economic, human factors engineering, and management and systems sciences in considering the needs, workflows, and practices of individuals and organizations in the context of information systems and technology.

Social and Behavioral Aspects of Health refers to action(s) taken by an individual, groups of individuals, or an organization to manage the health of an individual or population. It entails social determinants and patient‐generated data, analyses of problems arising from health or disease, the implications of these problems on daily activities, and the practical solutions to managing these problems. Patient behavior (that may be affected by genotypes and phenotypes), health literacy, informed decision making, patient engagement, and patient activation are examples of issues in this domain. Other common topics in this domain, depending on the program focus, may include health‐behavioral paradigms such as health and healthcare self‐management, substance abuse, utilization of healthcare services, characteristics of nutrition, exercise/physical activity habits, organizational network analyses, precision medicine and individualized care, etc.

Social, Behavioral, and Information Science and Technology Applied to Health refers to the integration of social, business, human factors, behavioral, and information sciences and technology on the design, implementation, and evaluation of health informatics solutions. The application of health technologies and clinical and/or business processes can impact individual and community health outcomes at numerous levels from molecular and biological systems to healthcare and organizational protocols, to social systems and population health.

Professionalism refers to the level of excellence or competence that is expected of a health informatics professional and includes such concepts as the maintenance and utilization of knowledge and technical skills, which may be dependent upon the application area of the training program, commitment to professional ethical principles including those in AMIA’s Code of Ethics; and maintenance of the highest standards of excellence in the field including professional development. In health informatics, there is a particular emphasis on preserving the confidentiality, privacy, and security of patient and other health data and information and balancing it with appropriate stakeholder access.

Interprofessional Collaborative Practice (ICP) refers to the shared, coordinated work among peers from different professions to achieve a common goal or mission. The work may range from local projects to those on a national and international scale and should be performed in an ethical manner that involves honesty, integrity, trust, and respect. Part of this domain is teamwork and team science, which involves drawing on individual team members’ strengths and expertise and assigning designated roles and methods to achieve the goals and mission. ICP requires effective communication skills. In summary, the domain requires mastery of values/ethics, roles/responsibilities, interprofessional communication, and team/teamwork.

Leadership refers to the interactive process for which the output is vision, guidance, and direction. Essentials of leadership include vision, communication skills, stewardship, acting as a change agent, and the developing and renewing of followers and future leaders. Leaders must envision goals, set priorities, manage change, make decisions, communicate, serve as a symbol of one who is willing to take risks and has credible expertise, and guide others by motivating other leaders as well as those who will follow. The concept of followership refers to a role held by certain individuals in an organization, team, or group. Specifically, it is the capacity of an individual to actively follow a leader. For leaders to be successful at leadership, they must possess the following characteristics: credibility, honesty, competence, ability to inspire, and the ability to formulate and communicate a vision.

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