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Getting Recognized as a Subject Matter Expert with a Master’s in Health Informatics

5 Min Read

Marjorie Hunt

Marjorie Hunt achieved a bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration, leading to a solid position in a field she loves. After two years, she decided to expand upon her knowledge of the healthcare field. After reading about the Health Informatics degree at the University of Scranton, she became inspired to continue her educational journey, she was immediately intrigued. With a love of analytics and a strong interest in technology, she could see endless opportunities regarding how it could help her improve the healthcare profession on a larger scale.

She chose The University of Scranton’s Online Master in Science in Health Informatics program for its strong reputation, reasonable tuition and the pursuit of the CAHIIM accreditation, which the program now has. Other considerations were the program’s career-ready focus— quickly apparent as she applied coursework to her career well before graduation — and the degree’s flexibility being 100% online.

Putting New Skills to Practice Across the Company

While Marjorie pursued her Master’s in Health Informatics online, she was hired for a position to manage credentialing tasks for OBGYN physicians. As she learned more in the health informatics program, she took on jobs in risk management. For example, she reviewed physician medical malpractice cases and looked for trends among them that might help them improve outcomes. She has since created a dashboard that allows her to track their providers’ medical malpractice cases, which she presents in committee meetings so partners can determine if clinical workflow changes are needed.

Marjorie says, “I learned how each area of healthcare is impacted by information systems and the importance of implementation and maintenance. This knowledge allowed me to be more educated during team meetings and provide insight to the team when needed.”

Other departments and teams soon reached out to her for her expert knowledge. For example, Unified Women’s Healthcare’s national risk management team asked her to collaborate on the risk management dashboard she created. Similarly, the national credentialing team wanted to know if she would take the lead in the custom reporting feature on their new information system.

Capstone Project Makes an Impact

Though she had a choice to complete her project at a major healthcare company, she chose to complete it within her organization. Dr. Margarete L. Zalon, program director of the graduate program in health informatics and professor of nursing explains, “Capstones have to be completed in a different department, which is good because it gives students insight into another part of their organization.”

Marjorie reports that Dr. Zalon and her capstone professor Dr. Beth Elias, FHMISS, made the affiliation process between Scranton and Unified Women’s Healthcare smooth and seamless. In addition, they created a relationship with her preceptor and were available to answer questions throughout the program.

In her capstone project, Marjorie explored how social determinants of health impact their patients’ care, insurance companies and the medical group. To do this, she learned her company’s electronic health record (EHR) reporting feature so she could pull reports and identify the patient population. Next, she reviewed active patient demographics, then looked into their care management patient population, which covers more vulnerable patients.

She identified a need for more resources to assist patients struggling with eating disorders with the data provided. Marjorie reports, “The first week after my presentation, we were able to help three patients get connected with the correct resources for eating disorders.”

This ongoing project aims to help the company improve their marketing tactics and reach patients personally to get them the help they need.

Her capstone project was such a success that she updates the report every six months to track changes and pivot strategies that can further improve outcomes. Additionally, it allowed Marjorie to get involved in new service lines and create relationships throughout Unified Women’s Healthcare.

Pros of the Program

Marjorie loved that each course in her Health Informatics program focused on a specific aspect of the healthcare industry, from governance to technology, so that by the time she got to her capstone course, she “…felt that [she] had a great overview on the impact that health informatics plays in all departments.”

She also loved the program’s flexibility and the ability to connect with peers and professors.

“I enjoyed how assignments would be sent to the students on Sunday, and you would have the whole week to do it on your schedule. I was very nervous about how I was going to balance work and school, but this type of flexibility allowed me to focus on my job in the morning and balance school throughout the week.”

Marjorie felt that “It is important, especially when taking virtual courses, to have relationships with members in the program to make students feel included. I felt welcomed into the program and Scranton University.”

About Scranton’s Health Informatics Program

Scranton’s master’s program gave Marjorie’s career the boost she wanted. She’s working across many departments, impacting healthcare and carefully considering which direction she wants to pursue her career. She understands how informatics can transform the future of healthcare and enjoys her growing part in that movement.

Like Marjorie, you don’t need IT experience or professional goals within the technology field to pursue a degree online in health informatics.

From data analysis, to project management, to veterinary science and numerous areas in health care, Scranton’s Master of Science in Health Informatics program provides diverse skills to succeed in your chosen area while impacting a rapidly growing field. The program offers flexible, online course options, plus the opportunity to personalize your experience as you learn from industry-experienced educators.

Suppose you’re interested in taking the next step in your career with The University of Scranton’s M.S. in Health Informatics program. In that case, you can learn more by exploring the program’s website or requesting more information today.

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