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Master of Science in Health Informatics Curriculum Overview

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The interprofessional curriculum in KU's master's degree in health informatics program will prepare you for a dynamic career in applied health informatics. You and your advisor will develop a plan of study to best meet your career and degree-completion goals. You may enroll as a part-time or full-time student and complete the program in as few as two years. Most of our students are working professionals who complete the program through part-time enrollment.

You will complete coursework in three core areas and one focus area and complete a practicum experience. To graduate with a Master of Science in Health Informatics, you must complete a total of 40 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Core Area Courses - 31 Credit Hours

You may click on a course title to view full course descriptions and prerequisite courses.

Health Informatics Core Area - 17 Credit Hours

All students complete the following required courses.

This course will provide an overview of health informatics focused on five themes: health informatics foundations; clinical decision support; human factors/organization factors; public health informatics and current issues in health informatics including best practices. PREREQUISITES(S): None.

The application of the information system development life cycle in the design, selection, and implementation of health information technology applications will be examined. Human computer interactions and emerging technologies will be explored for their impact on patient care and safety. The role of legal, regulatory, ethical and security issues will be discussed as they apply to clinical and consumer information technologies. PREREQUISITE(S): None. 

Data science concepts and database theory as related to healthcare settings will be introduced. Simple database modeling, design, and manipulation will be explored using a database management system and a query language. Key data science methods, such as data wrangling and visualization, will be leveraged for decision making. PREREQUISITE(S): None.

The information system development life cycle process is presented with emphasis on determination and analysis of information system requirements and system design that meet the identified health care information requirements. Object-oriented techniques will be introduced, including Unified Modeling Language and Unified Modeling Methodology, to facilitate process analysis and design proposal development. PREREQUISITE(S): IPHI 820 or consent of instructor.

Knowledge management is the creation, communication, and leveraging of a health care organization’s knowledge assets. Defining knowledge, describing the knowledge creation cycle, and the identification of the knowledge worker and his/her impact on the organization are discussed. Information technology and communities of practice are presented in a balanced approach supporting a systematic viewpoint of the knowledge management process. Knowledge management theory is enhanced with the performance of a knowledge audit and the development of knowledge management tools. PREREQUISITE(S):IPHI 820.

In collaboration with health care informatics faculty, preceptors, students design and experience to facilitate application of theories and research related to health informatics. Emphasis is on the application of the information systems development life cycle. Students analyze the leadership and technical behaviors of various informatics roles and negotiate an informatics project to be completed within the practicum. Three credit hours of practicum are required. These hours may be taken over 1-3 consecutive semesters. Students must be enrolled in at least 1 credit hour of practicum during their last semester. PREREQUISITES(S): IPHI 852, 853 and all Leadership courses PREREQUISITE OR CO-REQUISITE(S):  IPHI 851, 854, and 860 or consent of instructor.  

Leadership Core Area – 9 Credit Hours

NRSG 808 or HP&M 837 is required.


NRSG 808. Using a local/single clinical issue students examine ways to abstract this issue into a social policy context. Local exemplars are used throughout the course to demonstrate the leadership and structural systems required to effect change in policy. Strategies to identify constituencies and build coalitions are studied. PREREQUISITE(S): NRSG 755, or consent of instructor.

HP&M 837. This course examines the development, implementation, and evaluation of federal, state, and local health policy in the United States. Particular attention will be given to (1) the development of public institutions and policy goals; and (2) current policy problems such as cost controls, reimbursement, health services utilization, program assessment and evaluation, public health, and public/private investment and resource planning. Students will be expected to synthesize and integrate knowledge to apply theory and principles in ways consistent with professional practice as a health policy analyst. PREREQUISITE(S): None.

Strategies to promote program, project, and communication planning are presented and applied by the student. Communication strategies for informing, guiding, and persuading clients, health care providers, payers, and other stakeholders to advance program and project development are discussed. The use of evolving information technologies to improve program, project and communication planning is emphasized. PREREQUISITE(S): None.

A survey course of the law as it affects governance, health care administration and health care generally. This course will develop the student's understanding of health law and its impact on many aspects of health care governance and administration. The student should be able to identify and understand various legal issues they may encounter and when to engage legal counsel's advice. PREREQUISITE(S): HP&M 810.

An introduction to the principles and concepts in the ethics of health services administration. The course will help students further develop their skills to recognize and analyze ethical dilemmas, and to explain, justify and evaluate the decisions they make in response to such dilemmas. PREREQUISITE(S): None.

Self-discovery as a foundation for professional development while exploring the concepts of leader, manager, and follower is emphasized. Analysis and prediction of an organization's stages of development and its capacity for linear and social change are introduced through the lens of complexity science. Political, legal, ethical, and other issues that constrain and destabilize organizations and strategies to restore equilibrium are explored. PREREQUISITE(S): None.

Systematic approaches for analyzing and evaluation processes of care delivery and their impact on client populations, organizational processes, and communities are considered. Research concepts and methods are used in a systems context. Program evaluation, performance improvement, and other methods of measuring outcomes are examined for their utility within the health care setting. Linkages between program evaluation and regulatory policy are studied. PREREQUISITE(S): NRSG 754. COREQUISITE: NRSG 880 or Consent of Instructor.

Research Core Area – 5 Credit Hours

IPHI 860 is required.


NRSG 754. This course will enable the student to synthesize nursing knowledge and make recommendations to translate research findings into practice within diverse health care settings. Research methods, processes and findings for use in practice will be critically evaluated. Emphasis will be placed on formulating relevant research questions from theory and practice. PREREQUISITE(S): Admission to the graduate nursing program, Graduate Statistics, or consent of instructor.

HP&M 819. Introduces epidemiology, survey research, and evaluation research.  Examines quantitative and qualitative methods.  Focuses on the role of research in health policy and health management.  Incorporates lecture, discussion, papers and presentations.  PREREQUISITE(S): one course in graduate statistics.

This research or evidence-based project course is designed for students to apply knowledge from their coursework. Students will work with a faculty mentor on components of a research, quality improvement, or evidence-based practice project. The student will create a scholarly document.

Focus Area Courses – 9 Credit Hours within one focus area

clinical focus icon

Discipline-specific courses available to students with a strong health care background in patient care or rehabilitation therapy settings. Students choosing this focus area can earn the master’s degree entirely online.

Theory development and analysis techniques provide the framework for the study of concepts and theories from nursing and related disciplines. Emphasis will be placed on the relationship of theory and research in the development of nursing knowledge to support evidence-based practice. This course will enhance the decision-making skills for choosing and using concepts and theories that guide practice. PREREQUISITE(S): None.

An analysis of economic, political, legal, ethical, professional, societal, and cultural issues is conducted within the context of advanced nursing practice. Application of concepts essential to understanding, influencing, and leading change in health care delivery specific to advanced nursing practice is emphasized. PREREQUISITE(S): None.

This course introduces complexity science principles with the aim of improving the quality and effectiveness of health care organizations. Traditional approaches to quality improvement will be contrasted with tools and metrics that can be applied in complex organizations. Principles that relate to embeddedness, diversity, distributed control, co-existence of order and disorder, nonlinearity, inability to predict, emergence, and functioning at the edge of chaos will be introduced. PREREQUISITE(S): NRSG 880, or consent of instructor. 

The focus of this course is to understand the leadership functions of human resource management in organizations to create a competitive edge through employee empowerment. Core human resource concepts are introduced and applied to optimize human capital within a variety of health care settings, including compensation and benefits, employee recognition, and employee/labor relations. National, regional and local strategies and workforce trends are discussed related to best practices for the selection, retention, and management as a health care employer of choice. PREREQUISITE(S): None.

health policy & management focus

Health Policy & Management
Business and management courses for students planning a career in information systems management and leadership. Some courses are offered online, while others occur on the University of Kansas Medical Center campus in Kansas City, Kansas.

The structure and function of the components of the U.S. health care system are introduced in the context of the history, values and social forces that influenced its development and evolution. Students gain exposure to the concepts and vocabulary associated with aspects of the system, including delivery (providers, institutions, services), resources (finance, payment, insurance), population and public health, and outcomes (cost, access, quality). Health care outcomes from consumer, clinical, and societal perspectives are explored. PREREQUISITE(S): None.

This course introduces the core concepts from economics to health care with a focus on helping health care managers use economic tools in making sound decisions. The demand for health care products, the structure of insurance, and the supply of health care products are examined. Students will apply a variety of economic analyses to health policy and health system issues. PREREQUISITE(S): None.

Introduces the financial and managerial accounting concepts used in health care. This includes financial statement analysis; cost accounting; budgeting; and capital project analysis. PREREQUISITE(S): None.

Examines performance of health care organizations, sources of variation, methods of measurement, and strategies for improving performance. Considers several approaches to performance improvement and examines tools widely used in operations management. Incorporates lecture, discussion, and fieldwork. PREREQUISITE(S): None. (Same as NRSG 882.)

This course covers fundamental concepts of health information technologies including information management, health care delivery and remote monitoring systems of interest to administrators in health services organizations. Types of systems, alignment with organizational strategy, selection and adoption, return on investment, security and privacy, and uses of health care information for clinical and strategic analysis and decision support will be covered. The course will also cover current U.S. health technology infrastructure, policy, organizations and issues regarding the latest technology applications. An introduction to health care analytics is also provided. PREREQUISITE(S): None.

The focus of this course is to understand the leadership functions of human resource management in organizations to create a competitive edge through employee empowerment. Core human resource concepts are introduced and applied to optimize human capital within a variety of health care settings, including compensation and benefits, employee recognition, and employee/labor relations. National, regional and local strategies and workforce trends are discussed related to best practices for the selection, retention, and management as a health care employer of choice. PREREQUISITE(S): None.

public health focus

Public Health
Concepts related to epidemiology, public health data management, health communications and the application of these methods to reduce health disparities. Some courses are offered online, while others occur on the University of Kansas Medical Center campus in Kansas City, Kansas.

Basic concepts of epidemiology and methods for identification of factors influencing health and disease in human populations. Considerations are centered on physical, biological, psychosocial and cultural factors in relation to infectious and non-infectious diseases; interactions between agent, host, and environmental factors as determinants of health and disease; application of the epidemiologic approach to health services; retrospective and prospective analysis of morbidity and mortality data. PREREQUISITE(S): None.

This course emphasizes the underlying concepts of the epidemiologic approach as it relates to infectious diseases. Students will be introduced to principles and methods of disease surveillance and outbreak investigations using case studies. Essential concepts relating to vaccine efficacy and effectiveness in preventing infectious diseases, barriers to achieving adequate vaccine coverage, and how ongoing vaccine controversies relate to the scientific literature base will be covered. The evolving public health concerns of bioterrorism and antibiotic resistance will also be addressed. Characteristics of the agent, host, and environment that influence disease transmission will be examined in the context of control strategy identification. Instruction is primarily by online learning tools, with limited short lectures. PREREQUISITE(S): PRVM 800 Principles of Epidemiology.

This three-credit graduate course will help prepare students to work effectively with diverse population, enhance-cross cultural competence, and identify and use social and culturally-competent strategies in public health research and practice. Students in this course will become competent and versed in how culture intersects with health, social determinants of health, patient education and communication, and society. Key models for understanding how health, society, and culture relate will be discussed and linked to health communication and public health practice. In addition social issues that include racism, classism, gender discrimination, and poverty will be an integral part of the course.

A 3 credit hour graduate level course concerning basic computing skills necessary for any advanced epidemiologic or administrative quantitative methods. This course covers basics of variable and dataset creation, building, maintenance and basic descriptive (not interpretive) analysis. The course is designed to be of use to students entering a variety of research, administrative and public health settings in public health, clinical and other fields. Software covered will include SAS, SPSS, Epi Info, KIPHS, Microsoft-EXCEL and ACCESS. The course can stand alone, or prepare students for Biostatistics and Epidemiology courses. Public data presentations will be stressed to prepare students to communicate about data with the lay public. PREREQUISITE(S): None.

project management focus

Project Management
Courses provide a broadly applicable skill set for leading cross-functional teams in the delivery of successful projects. Project management courses are offered online and on the University of Kansas Edwards campus in Overland Park, Kansas. After completing this track and the Knowledge Management course (IPHI 854), students earn the Graduate Certificate in Project Management from KU.

Managerial concepts and skills development in relation to the project-oriented business environment, project lifecycle, integrated project management, project selection, and project initiation. Focus is on management of a single project. PREREQUISITE(S): None.

Planning concepts and skills development in relation to developing needed information on project scope, time, cost, and risk, and making direct use of such information to develop key documentation such as the project schedule and budget. Examples of specific topics considered include project work content and change, documentation, and resource requirements. Planning content is complementary to that of PMGT 818. PREREQUISITE(S): PMGT 816.

Concepts and skills development in relation to planning for management of communications, human resource aspects of project team formation and development, procurement, and quality. Examples of specific topics considered include information handling, reporting, and stakeholder relationships. Planning content is complementary to that of PMGT 817. PREREQUISITE(S): PMGT 817.

Practicum Experience

At the end of the master’s program, students go onsite to a health care facility or health-related organization to apply their newly acquired knowledge. In cooperation with health informatics faculty, each student collaborates with a mentor/preceptor onsite to design an experience to apply theories and skills related to health care informatics, the system development life cycle, and leadership.

All course descriptions and details information provided here for reference only. Please visit the Academic Catalog for complete and current degree information.

KU Center for Health Informatics

KU Center for Health Informatics
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Mailstop 4043

Kansas City, KS 66160