Mar 01, 2024  
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Health Informatics, M.S.

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Tam McCreless, Ph.D., Graduate Program Director

Frank Braun, D.M., Department Chair



At the highest level, Health Informatics consists of two categories (a) clinical informatics, with a principal focus on patient care, and (b) a more general health information systems informatics, with a principal focus on institutional administration. Thus, Health Informatics addresses issues ranging from storage, retrieval, and interpretation of data for better patient care to the actual implementation and management of the complex information systems used in the administration of health care. The natural environment of Health Informatics includes hospitals, physician networks and practice groups, third-party payers and regulatory agencies, and industry suppliers such as pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, and vendors of hospital equipment and medical supplies.

The Master of Science in Health Informatics (MHI) is designed to provide an educational experience that will enable both health professionals interested in developing their knowledge of information technology and IT professionals interested in applying their skills in the healthcare industry. Government policies and investments are stimulating the growth of information technology in the healthcare industry to achieve healthcare’s “Triple Aim” of improving the individual experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reducing the per capita cost of care. The MHI program exposes students to the interaction and interdependencies of technology with other key elements in healthcare, including information security and privacy, evidence-based practices, analytics and population health. This program addresses both areas of clinical informatics and health information systems, with a focus on the integration and interoperability of technology within this total environment. Graduates will develop competencies and skills that are required to work with leading edge technologies while implementing process change, system design, and management within the unique constraints, requirements, urgencies, and patient-centered practices associated with the healthcare industry.

One of the key aspects of the MHI program is student access to Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology. Students are able to take on every role inside a health organization in order to learn the software from the user point-of-view, in addition to the role of administrator, acquiring the skills needed for software configuration. Finally, students have the opportunity to delve deeper into using EHRs by developing healthcare analytics, such as dashboards and scorecards, and by using the software as a learning tool to obtain the foundational knowledge to improve the management and delivery of healthcare.

Office of the MHI Program

The MHI program resides in the College of Informatics under the Business Informatics department located in GH 400. For more information call (859) 572-5153, e-mail, or visit the website at


Program Admission

The optimum size of the Master’s in Health Informatics (MHI) program is conditioned by several resource constraints, particularly faculty availability, physical space, and staff support. The maximum size of each entering class is approximately 20 to 25 students. However, because most students in the health informatics program are part-time, it is anticipated that the program enrollment may be larger.

Applications are accepted for all semesters. Admission decisions will be made within two weeks after the receipt of all application documents. Applications received after posted deadlines will be considered on a space available basis. Applications are evaluated against the Graduate School criteria and those criteria developed specifically for the MHI program. Applicants who do not qualify for full admission may be admitted on a conditional or provisional basis at the discretion of the MHI Admissions Committee and director of Graduate Program.

Admission Requirements

Consideration for admission to the MHI program requires the following be submitted in addition to the application:

  1. Official transcripts showing an earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Applicants who attended a university outside the United States must submit an evaluation of their transcript showing it is equivalent to a US four-year degree. As a criterion for full admission, applicants must have no less than a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for either the last 60 semester hours of earned undergraduate credit or overall undergraduate credit hours. Applicants completing their undergraduate work at the time the application is submitted may be considered for provisional admission based in part on an official transcript of work completed thus far.
  2. Official transcripts from all post-secondary work.
  3. In addition to the minimum GPA requirement, applicants must submit evidence of potential success in graduate programs. This may be accomplished by: a previous master’s, Ph.D., or professional doctoral degree (e.g., M.B.A., M.D., J.D., D.D.S.) from a U.S. regionally accredited school OR A 3.5 GPA or better in at least 12 hours of graduate work from a regionally accredited school OR a GMAT score meeting the following conditions:
  • A total score of at least 450 on the GMAT AND an admissions formula total of at least 1,000 points based on the formula (200 x GPA on 4.0 scale) + GMAT, OR
  • 1,050 points based on the formula (200 x GPA on 4.0 scale for the last 60 semester hours) + GMAT.
  • A GRE score with equivalent placement conditions is also acceptable.
  1. A carefully drafted statement about your personal interests, career goals, and relevant background experience.
  2. For students with a degree from outside the US and who are not native English speakers, a TOEFL score (minimum score of 550 paper version, 213 computer based version, 79 iBT version) or IELTS score (minimum 6.5).
  3. A statement addressing your proficiencies in the use of computer technologies.

While not required, reference forms from individuals qualified to comment on your potential success in both a graduate program and in Health Informatics are encouraged. Please follow the submission guidelines on the Office of Graduate Education website

Admission to the MHI program is determined by a consensus of the Admissions Committee. The decision is based upon the evaluation of all documents submitted with the application. All correspondence should be sent directly to the Office of Graduate Education, AC 302, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY 41099.

Program Requirements Summary

Credits required: 33

Requirement Breakdown:

  • 21 credits in required Foundation Classes
  • 9 credits in Electives
  • 3 credits in Capstone
  • A requirement of creating an electronic portfolio throughout the program

♦ Indicates prerequisite.


The required core courses provide broad technical skills as well as providing the organizational competencies required for success by MHI graduates. All courses are associated with specific learning outcomes and outcome assessment methodologies. Students without an adequate academic or work background in healthcare may be required to take a clinical class in addition to the 33 credits required for the degree.

Electives (9 credit hours required)

Students are required to take a minimum of 9 hours in elective courses. The electives are grouped into 3 areas, and students may be required to take three courses from one of the areas to specialize or just select any three courses. The following courses are pre-approved; students can submit for approval any graduate level course offered at NKU to which health informatics can be applied.

Capstone (3 credit hours required)

Students will be required to take a capstone courses (MHI 682 ) in their final year. This course will consist of work and project experience on location within the healthcare industry. This will provide the student the opportunity for experience-based learning. Students who currently work in the healthcare industry will be allowed to develop a capstone experience in conjunction with their current employer, but must be pre-approved by the MHI Program Director and Capstone Coordinator.

Students are required to notify the MHI Program Director of their intentions to take a capstone at least 90 days prior to the start of the capstone semester. This requirement will allow time to place the student in an appropriate capstone course.

Electronic Portfolio

Students will be required to maintain a portfolio during the course of the program. The portfolio will reflect a student’s work and development during her/his studies. The portfolio should reflect depth and competence as well as an ability to enter the workforce at a professional level. The portfolio will be reviewed and critiqued during a capstone seminar, where revisions and other improvements may also be required.

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