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Program Overview

Master's in Health Informatics

Master's in Health Informatics Online

Learn to optimize the use of information to improve the health of the communities you serve

The dynamic field of health informatics operates at the convergence of health care and information technology. The exciting new online MS in Health Informatics (MHI) program is offered in partnership with Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, a leader in the medical community. MHI prepares students for emerging opportunities and roles across the health care enterprise. Students prepare to leverage technology tools and data for more efficient, patient-centered health care services delivery and improved population health, while developing essential skills such as organizational change leadership and project management.

MHI students come from a range of backgrounds that are reflected in three distinct program specializations: Clinical Informatics, Health Technology Informatics, and Health Administration Informatics. Introductory courses in information technology and clinical practice may be waived for those with substantial experience in those areas. For students who pursue the Clinical Informatics specialization, the MHI program also prepares them for board certification in medical informatics, a designated medical subspecialty. Fully accredited, SPS online courses marry the best aspects of online technology with the interactivity of the classroom in a format designed to work with students' busy schedules.

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Henry Gabb, PhD

I looked at other programs, but none stressed the level of aptitude of Northwestern. My classmates were already working professionals at the top of their fields. For a remote program, it was great to be in class with people I could learn from.”

— Henry Gabb, PhD (MHI'12), Principal Engineer, Intel Corporation

About the MS in Health Informatics

Master's in Health Informatics Program Goals

An interdisciplinary professional program, MHI graduates will possess the knowledge, skills and aptitude to:

  • Anticipate and assess evolving health informatics needs from clinical, technical, operational and financial perspectives.
  • Create a vision for the use of information to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of patient-centered care and public health.
  • Nurture the development of leadership skills to navigate the privacy, security, legal, regulatory, ethical and social challenges inherent to health informatics.

Health Informatics Curriculum & Specializations

Students are required to complete 12 courses to earn the degree. Students complete five core courses including a leadership course and a capstone or thesis project, four required courses, and three elective courses corresponding to a chosen area of Health Informatics Specialization: clinical informatics, health technology, or health administration. Current student should refer to the Health Informatics Curriculum requirements in place at time of entry into the program.

MS in Health Informatics Online Courses

Explore MS Health Informatics Online Courses. You can narrow your course search by day, location or instructor.

Master's in Health Informatics Admission

A variety of factors are considered when your application is reviewed. Background and experience vary from student to student. For a complete list of requirements, see the Master's in Health Informatics Admission page.

Tuition and Financial Aid for Health Informatics

Tuition for the Master's in Health Informatics program at Northwestern is comparable to similar US programs. Financial aid opportunities exist for students at Northwestern. Complete details can be found on the Health Informatics Tuition and Financial Aid page.

Registration Information for Health Informatics

Already accepted into the Master's in Health Informatics program? Get ahead and register for your classes as soon as possible to ensure maximum efficiency in your trajectory.

Careers in Health Informatics

Once primarily the purview of physicians and technologists, health informatics now engages a much broader and growing spectrum of clinical, technical, administrative and financial services professionals collaborating in hospitals, group practices, nursing care centers, home health agencies, laboratories, community care facilities and family services agencies, among other settings. Increasingly, the challenges and opportunities of this burgeoning field also attract innovators and entrepreneurs from industries outside the health care mainstream. Those with appropriately rigorous education in the field will likely find significant professional opportunity.  For details visit the Health Informatics Career Options page.

Health Informatics Faculty

Instructors in the Master's in Health Informatics program at Northwestern are leaders in the field. They bring practical real-world experiences to the online classroom and engage with students on an interpersonal level. Get to know the instructors on our Health Informatics Faculty page.

Find out more about Northwestern's MS in Health Informatics

Core Courses:Course Detail
Leadership <> LEADERS 481-DL

The purpose of this course is to identify the fundamental leadership behaviors that enable people to excel in their careers, and to help students apply these behaviors to personal and professional success. The course builds from the basic premise that leadership is learned and looks at the theory and practice of leadership at the individual and organizational level. The course will explore definitions of leadership, the importance of leadership, leadership styles, the role of vision and integrity, the importance of giving and receiving feedback, how to lead change and solve problems, effective teamwork, and communication strategies. The culmination of the class will be a personal leadership development plan formulated by each student.


View LEADERS 481-DL Sections
American Health Care System <> MHI 401-DL

The course provides knowledge of the key components of health care in the United States—the policy, economic, and societal forces that shape health care delivery. The course serves as an introduction to elements of the American health care system, including the provider components, the financing of health care, the basic structure of public policy making and public health systems, a comparative analysis of the American system to health care systems of other countries, and the legal and regulatory framework within the American health care system functions. In addition to the structural components of the system, the course reviews current issues within the American health care system, including public health, preparedness, quality of health care, health reform, payment mechanisms, and consumerism.


View MHI 401-DL Sections
Fundamentals of Health Informatics <> MHI 403-DL

The course is an introductory survey of fundamentals of health information technology.. Topics center on how information technology enables patient care, how information technology is used by healthcare providers and caregivers, and it’s use to fuel modern health care organizations. This course provides an overview of health informatics with emphasis on the factors that helped create and sustain this new field, the key players involved, and the impact health information technology is having on the delivery of care in a rapidly changing healthcare marketplace.


We explore a range of critical health care informatics topics, including: electronic health records, health information exchange, how health information technology impacts quality of care and patient safety, big data and predictive analytics, clinical decision support and knowledge management, regulatory issues, consumerism and technology, systems integration, and virtual health. The course also explores emerging and new uses of technology.


View MHI 403-DL Sections
Legal, Ethical, and Social Issues <> MHI 407-DL

This course addresses the legal, ethical, and social issues in health care informatics and will equip students with the knowledge and analytic tools needed to spot those key issues, thereby better protecting students and their employers in the medical informatics field. The health care industry is highly regulated, and this course also covers regulatory informatics requirements as they apply to work with health care data and information management systems. The course also covers topics such as privacy and security, fraud and abuse, confidentiality, antitrust law, intellectual property, the Joint Commission, disclosure, and compliance programs.


View MHI 407-DL Sections
Health Analytics Leadership <> MHI 480-DL

Note: This course may be taken in lieu of MHI 481 Leadership. Students may not take both MHI 481 and MHI 480.

This course is designed as an introduction to health analytics leadership practice, high level project management, customer engagement, and effective communication in health care organizations. Healthcare has seen a tremendous increase in available data in the past decade; however much of it is siloed and very difficult to piece together. Physicians and leaders struggle with reliability and transparency of data. Managers struggle to get the data they need to make informed decisions.

Students in analytics-based roles and disciplines will learn organizational strategies for developing and executing a robust Business Intelligence vision and strategic plan. Health care organizations with a strong business intelligence platform enable clinical and business decision making and improve the efficiency of the overall data delivery system.

Leadership strategies including data governance fundamentals, elements of the Business Intelligence (BI) maturity model, and key practices to improve organizational data literacy will be examined. Students will also learn methods to effectively lead projects and engage both leadership and key stakeholders using change management principles, models, and project management tools. Before analytic tasks are undertaken, change management ensures an organizational culture that will support a successful data analytics strategy. Project and portfolio management tools will ensure effective execution of the strategy.

This course introduces best practices in leading change and project management, including: stakeholder engagement, project chartering, scope definition, and key metric development. Students will use these methods and models to demonstrate their understanding and ability to improve project definition and structure. Students should able to execute projects more effectively in their organizations.

The course will also focus on developing effective communication and presentation skills to translate analytics to actionable recommendations that can be used to solve problems in their organizations. Through case scenario exercises, students will deepen their ability to present data analyses and recommendations in a clear and concise manner, evaluate analyses others have done, and articulate the strengths and limitations of their analyses. Students will demonstrate success if they are able to connect and translate their analytics to purpose, process, and people.

Over the next ten weeks, students will examine and analyze current literature and case studies, compare and contrast BI best practices in health care organizations, and demonstrate their learning through assignments, exercises, discussions, and a course project. Students will deepen their ability to develop and deploy a robust BI platform in their health care organization.


View MHI 480-DL Sections
Capstone Project <> MHI 498-DL

The capstone project course is the culmination of the MHI program and provides students the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the core competencies in the medical informatics field. Students, working in small groups, will also complete a comprehensive project provided by the instructor at the beginning of the course. Students are individually assessed and graded throughout the duration of class. Students may choose this course to fulfill their capstone requirement.


Pre-requisite: the earliest students may take MHI 498 is in the quarter of their final class.


There is no available section.
Thesis Research MHI 590-DL

This final project is meant to represent the culmination of students’ experience in the program and must demonstrate mastery of the curriculum and ability to conduct sustained independent research and analysis. The project may be applied or may be a traditional scholarly paper, in both cases a write-up following the paper’s program-specific guidelines is required. Students must submit a proposal and secure a first reader in order to register; for further details students are advised to review the student handbook and contact their academic adviser.


There is no available section.
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