What is the difference in a Health Informatics degree program and a Health Information Management degree program?

An online Bachelor’s degree in Health Informatics (HI) and a degree in Health Information Management (HIM) sounds very similar, however, there are a few technical differences in program coursework, as well as, job duties. But to be truthful, there are areas of study and responsibilities that overlap once you get your career started, as your employer may ask you to dip your toe in a little (or a lot) of both.

We’ll begin with Health Informatics, which is related to the topic of Information Technology (IT). In this field, you will be trained on how to utilize computer technology to transfer patient healthcare information into a manageable system designed to provide quality care to the public. In the field of Health Information Management, the primary focus is gathering an individual’s healthcare records and entering it into an efficient computer system for healthcare personnel to access.

If you choose a career in Health Informatics, you will need to be proficient in the design, development and utilization of a healthcare computer system, therefore, a strong background in information infrastructure and computer information systems is important. However, for a career in Health Information Management, your focus would be primarily on the patient’s records, coding, transcription, record storage, accuracy and patient privacy, in addition to, controlled security access.

With an online Bachelor’s degree program in Health Informatics, the coursework, most likely, will include network architecture, database design and programming, hardware-software integration, anatomy and physiology, information systems, medical terminology, project management, accounting, organizational behavior, along with, communication, law and ethics and in leadership and management. The coursework in the field of Health Information Management includes similar classes such as, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, communication, project management, law and ethics, as well as, the use and storage of patient data, coding, processing medical records, in addition to, learning about medications and healthcare organizations.

A student who graduates with an online Bachelor’s degree in Health Informatics can support job titles such as, Health Information System Manager, Database Analyst or Administrator or as an Applications Software Consultant. These types of positions can be found in hospitals, medical research laboratories, medical groups or clinics, health insurance organizations and in consulting companies. The starting salary ranges from between $45,000 to $75,000 annually, however, depending on education, size of facility and experience, one can earn upwards of $150,000 to $175,000 per year.

If your area of expertise lies within the field of Health Information Management, you can pursue a career as a Medical Records Manager, Patient Information Coordinator, Data Quality Manager or a Health Information Management Director. These positions can be found in hospitals, accounting and legal firms, medical groups and clinics or in health insurance organizations. The salary for a career in Health Information Management can range from between $28,000 to $52,430 annually, however, top salaries can range from $80,000 to $100,000 per year, within certain criteria.

As you can see, the two categories are very similar. Your choice for a degree program in Health Informatics may simply depend on which programs your preferred school may offer. It will be worth your time, however, to research each program’s details to decide where your true passion lies, as either program will prepare you for a rewarding career in the healthcare industry.

If you would like to learn more about this field, please see our choices for the Top 15 Online Schools for Bachelor’s of Health Informatics Degree Programs.