South Florida Hospital News
Friday May 14, 2021

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August 2016 - Volume 13 - Issue 2

Health Informatics and Analytics - Where Healthcare Intersects with Information Technology

Today’s healthcare professionals continue to move closer to a greater reliance on information technology and data. In fact, many healthcare providers have expanded their use of technology to improve their quality of care across the continuum of care. This movement has created a growth that exceeds 20 percent over the next ten years and provides employment opportunities for individuals interested in both clinical and non-clinical positions in the healthcare field.

To help fill this pipeline, Florida International University (FIU) has introduced a program within the College of Business that provides students with the skills to analyze and present healthcare data. Students can earn a Master of Science degree in Health Informatics and Analytics—a 14-month program designed for information systems professionals, healthcare managers, physicians, nurses and other clinicians, as well as healthcare support personnel who want to learn how to use today’s advanced information systems to create more efficient and productive healthcare environments.
According to Dr. Monica Chiarini Tremblay, chair of the FIU’s Department of Information Systems and Business Analytics, because informatics is a diverse field, the University decided to focus on data analytics across the full spectrum of health and healthcare. She explains that the healthcare sector is going through a fundamental change as it moves from transaction-based care to outcome-based care. Outcome-based care focuses more on measurement, and as a result, FIU decided to emphasize the analysis of data, data visualization and predictive modeling and statistics.
“As you can imagine, data and systems are everywhere in healthcare – from the administrative systems that focus on payments, patient admissions, and organizational protocols – as well as the clinical systems that collect information and health data on patients, such as Electronic Medical Records (EMR) or Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE),” she says. “Our program teaches the integration of health and healthcare data with the administrative aspects of healthcare delivery. Specifically students gain skills at implementing and evaluating processes that improve quality and costs.”
Each class in the master’s program is eight weeks—six face-to-face Saturday sessions onsite combined with two weeks of online classes. FIU is one of just a few universities across the country that offers this degree within a College of Business.
Since Miami is a city that is very urban, Dr. Tremblay says that the university has had many opportunities to interact with the healthcare system. Healthcare has become one of the areas of emphasis for the University, especially and an area of emphasis for the College of Business.
“Many of our faculty do research in the area of healthcare so they are well equipped to teach the classes. The department is very strong right now. It has faculty and instructors in both healthcare and analytics,” says Dr. Tremblay. “We see the demand for this field of study locally as well as starting to see a demand from outside of the area after an article about our program was recently published in the Journal for American Medical Informatics Association.”
As a result of the growing reputation of this program, the Department is considering numerous expansion options, including offering the degree completely online in the next academic year.  In addition, a dual Healthcare MBA/Healthcare Informatics and Analytics degree will be introduced. “We’re also hoping in the near future to start teaching elective health IT classes at the undergraduate level,” says Dr. Tremblay.
Dr. Tremblay notes that what is needed in healthcare today are people who understand clinical systems as well as technology. She encourages anyone with a healthcare background who understands the importance of the intersection among technology, data and healthcare to consider enrolling. If you have a background in information technology, the Program will help you understand the healthcare system as a whole. The first course students take in the program focuses on health, healthcare delivery as well as the history of health informatics.
“In this introductory course, we explain the United States healthcare system, the influence of payment systems such as Medicare and Medicaid; how payment influences healthcare delivery; the HITECH Act and specifically how this legislation infused money into the healthcare system to try to encourage adoption of electronic health records,” says Dr. Tremblay. “A number of graduates are doing well and have succeeded in moving into informatics positions and moving their careers into this exciting field.”

The next student cohort start is in October. For more information, visit more information, visit or contact the program at or (305) 348-4347.

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