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A Data-Driven Assessment of the U.S. Health Informatics Programs and Job MarketFunding None.
Background Health Informatics (HI) is an interdisciplinary field, integrating health sciences, computer science, information science, and cognitive science to assist health information management, analysis, and utilization. As the HI field is broad, it is impossible that a student will be able to master all the diverse HI topics. Thus, it is important to train the HI students based on the offering of the various HI programs and needs of the current market. This project will study the U.S. HI programs, training materials, HI job market, the skillset required by the employers, competencies taught in HI programs, and comparisons between them.
Methods We collected the training information for the 238 U.S. universities that offered MS, PhD, or postbaccalaureate certificate programs in HI or related professions. Next, we explored the HI job market by randomly checking 200 jobs and their required skillsets and domain knowledge. Then, we compared these skillsets with those offered by the HI programs and identified the gaps and overlaps for program enhancements.
Results Among the 238 U.S. universities, 94 universities offer HI programs: 92 universities with MS (Master of Science), 43 with doctoral, 42 with both MS and doctoral, and 54 with certificate programs. The most offered HI courses are related to practicum, data analytics, research, and ethics. For the HI job postings, the three most technical skillsets required in HI job posting are data analysis, database management, and knowledge of electronic health records. However, only 58% of HI programs offer courses in database management and analytics. Compared with American Medical Informatics Association's recommended 10 fundamental domains, the HI curriculum generally lacks training in socio-technical systems, social-behavioral aspects of health, and interprofessional collaborative practice.
Conclusion There are gaps between the industry expectations of HI and the training received in HI programs. Advance level technical courses are needed in HI programs to meet industry expectations.
Protection of Human and Animal Subjects
Human and/or animal subjects were not included in the project. Since this study utilized publicly available data and no protected human subject, Institutional Review Board approval is not required for the study.
Received: 07 July 2021
Accepted: 04 January 2022
30 March 2022 (online)
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