Master of Health Informatics Program

MHI Program Information

The MHI program is designed to train individuals who are interested in using information technology to solve health care problems. The curriculum consists of 31 credits of coursework. Students take a sequence of core informatics courses and add electives to specialize their degree. 

Vision and Mission of the MHI

Vision: A workforce of trained health informatics professionals with skills in the information and healthcare sciences who are contributing to solving important problems in health.

Mission: To serve as the academic home for health informatics professional students pursuing a Master of Health Informatics. It will provide a thorough, broad-based, cutting-edge, high-quality educational program that facilitates initial entry and advancement in the health informatics workforce and/or prepare them for doctoral studies in the field.

What is an MHI?

What is an MHI?

The Master of Health Informatics (MHI) is a professional degree intended for individuals with various backgrounds who would like training in how to guide and control the use of the many technologies becoming more prevalent in the health care industry. The program is designed so that it can be completed in as little as one calendar year for full-time students, but may also be taken part-time to accommodate professionals' work schedules.

Why should I get an MHI?

Why should I get an MHI?

Importance of information technology in health care
Health informatics is an interdisciplinary field that applies computer, information, and cognitive sciences to promote the effective and efficient use and analysis of information for the improvement of human health. Because the interaction between an individual healthcare professional and a patient is at the heart of any healthcare delivery system, it is essential to document the multiple decisions and actions that affect a patient’s well-being. Many of these clinical records are now being converted into computer-based information systems. As part of health care reform, all patients’ records will be converted to electronic records by 2014.

There is a critical need to develop information systems that lead to more effective decisions and greater efficiency within the healthcare industry. Health informatics meets this need through an interdisciplinary collaboration of scholars and knowledgeable practitioners from areas including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, and dentistry, among others. Thus, health informatics promotes the effective and efficient use and analysis of information to improve the health, well being, and economic functioning of society.

The entire healthcare system is based on interactions between providers, their patients, and their patients' documentation in clinical records. Driven by the escalating costs of medical care, a growing knowledge base, and evidence of deficient quality, the healthcare industry is working hard to convert these records into computer-based information systems so that processes can be performed with a greater effectiveness and efficiency. Better information systems would solve a variety of problems, from concerns for patient safety to controlling the costs of care. Major players, from the federal government to influential corporations, are advocating greater use of technology to address these issues.

Improved employment opportunities
Because of the large number of companies with a health care emphasis, there are numerous local employment opportunities within health informatics. Over 150 software companies listed on MBBNet, Minnesota’s virtual biomedical and bioscience community, employ personnel who have training in health informatics. Recent Star Tribute Want Ads listed 18 positions for which personnel with medical informatics training would be qualified. Selected websites for companies such as Fairview Health Services, Allina Hospitals and Clinics, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Ingenix currently display another 51 informatics related positions. Nationally, the Health Information Management Systems Society Annual Survey of Managers indicated that 60% report they will expand information technology staff in the coming year. All these figures point to extensive employment opportunities for those with training in information technology and health care, which is exactly the training MHI students will receive.

How do I get an MHI as a medical student?

How do I get an MHI as a medical student?

The MD/MHI is a joint degree program which provides University of Minnesota medical students the opportunity to earn an MHI while pursing an MD. The program is a single year of coursework - in addition to the four years of training for the MD - which prepares medical students to apply information technology to medicine so they can be effective informaticians within their medical specialties. The joint degree program provides the same training as the M.H.I. program with the exception of the Capstone course which is replaced by an equivalent Medical School clerkship (LAMP 7195).

Program of study
Students may complete the MHI in the fall and spring semesters following either their second or third year of medical school. Students may also choose to use the 26 weeks of free time allotted over the third and fourth years to complete the MHI, which would theoretically enable them to complete the M.D. program in 4 years instead of 5. The schedule of required courses is the same as the MHI full-time course of study except that LAMP 7195, which replaces the MHI Capstone, must be taken during the clerkship years (the last two years of medical education).

For more information about the rest of the MHI curriculum, please see our MHI Plan of Study below.

To apply for an MHI, medical students must:

  • Apply to the Graduate School
  • Authorize the Medical School to give a copy of their medical school application to the Graduate School
  • Acquire a letter of recommendation from a member of the medical school faculty

For information about our general admissions criteria, please see the Admissions section of the website.

Enrollment and registration
The University only allows students to be enrolled in one school at a time, so while students are pursuing the MHI they will be enrolled in the graduate program and not in the MD program. As such, they will be subject to the Graduate School's tuition rates and fees.

Students must register for a full-time course load each semester in order to remain in the program. If a student is unable to complete one or more of the courses within the required semester, he or she will be given an Incomplete grade and will be required to complete the coursework before taking the LAMP 7195 clerkship.