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Health Informatics students using mobile health app


“Through health information, we’re making the future happen,” states Daniel Engel (MS ’11), chief product owner at 3M HIS. The innovative work he and his team do represents the progressive spirit and forward-thinking students gain through programs at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS).

The rapidly evolving fields of information technology and health care demand equally adaptive curricula, which has led the school’s Department of Health Information Management (HIM) to re-envision their programs to better align with the future of health care.

The most recent evolution is a shift in name for the undergraduate program from “Health Information Management” to “Health Informatics.”

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“Health-related data are increasingly generated by individuals from their activities of daily living and not only by clinicians during visits with patients. The availability of a huge amount of health data from various sources has led to the rapid development of data science and data analytics in recent years,” states the proposal. The infusion of data in health care led to a pressing need to teach students in “data acumen” areas that combine skills in health care business workflow and data modeling so they can learn how to use data to make decisions.   

While the curricula in the HIM Department is under constant evaluation and evolution to best prepare students to enter the field, it is now time for the name of the program to reflect industry changes.

Department Chair Bambang Parmanto is excited about how this update will advance program outcomes.

“The new curriculum and the new name will provide more opportunities for students in the program who are learning relevant skills in informatics and health data science,” he says. “As a result, it will inform employers that graduates have acquired skills in traditional health information management areas plus more technical skills in data science.”

student and teacher analyzing health information on computer

Even though the name will change to Health Informatics, the competencies of Health Information Management, including classification systems, health care reimbursement, revenue cycle management and information governance will still be major parts of the new curriculum. Therefore, a combination of both Health Information Management and Health Data Science will constitute the best of both worlds and enable graduates to obtain state-of-the art jobs that include a current blending of these areas.

With the surge in new technology and wearables, there is certainly no shortage of health data to analyze.

The new program name embraces the department’s commitment to educate undergraduate students in advanced concepts and skills related to health care business processes and data science. “HIM is well prepared to take on the challenge that this re-imagined program demands” says Parmanto. “Our faculty members have extensive expertise in all areas of health informatics and health data science. We also have a growing network of internship sites for students to gain immersive real-world experience, as well as an expansive alumni network.”

As the profession takes these next important steps to leverage technology for the benefit of all, students graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics from Pitt SHRS will be poised to drive meaningful change in the way we deliver patient care.