An MBA in Healthcare Information Systems can be a lucrative investment, but you should weigh the benefits and costs before embarking on this career path. Generally designed for those already working in healthcare administration or healthcare information technology, an MBA in Healthcare Information Systems is a solid foundation upon which to build a career in healthcare management.
The MBA in Healthcare Information Systems is a relatively new degree. In 1961, the Hospital Management Systems Society drafted a charter. In 1986, with the rise of computers in hospital administration, this organization become the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS Legacy Workgroup). Because this level of technology is still fairly new to hospitals and healthcare, the degrees in this area are also recent. Southeastern Oklahoma State University added a Healthcare Information Systems concentration option for its MBA students three years ago.
Although many IT workers lost jobs during the economic downturn, the tide has now turned, and there is a lack of good, qualified workers in this field. In 2011, “The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA) [agreed] to collaborate on efforts to attract job seekers to health IT,” according to InformationWeek.com. This collaboration came as a response to the projected 50,000-person shortage that both organizations predict in Health IT over the next few years.
While most healthcare positions are facing shortages like these, healthcare IT positions are especially sensitive to recent developments in American legislation. The passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act in 2010 brought many changes to America’s healthcare system, including the nationwide overhaul of patient records systems. In 2012, Healthcare IT News reported that this change would triple hospital investment in cloud computing within the next five years “to nearly $9.5 billion by 2020.”
Further, the Affordable Care Act’s mandatory coverage requirement created a mass of new data to process. Healthcare providers must bill insurance companies appropriately, and more insured patients means more information. In response, hospitals are already investing in healthcare IT, and the trend shows no sign of slowing.
These investments are creating more job opportunities for healthcare IT professionals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that medical and health services manager jobs will increase by 17 percent over the next decade, well above the overall average of 7 percent. With salaries averaging around $95,000, healthcare IT positions will be highly competitive — an MBA in Healthcare Information Systems can bolster a resume for these lucrative jobs.
There are only a handful of colleges and universities that offer an MBA in Healthcare Information Systems. Southeastern Oklahoma State University offers this emphasis option, and it’s even available through an online program. Current healthcare administrators and healthcare IT professionals can take advantage of this online program to pursue the degree while still working. Further, online students get to apply what they learn in class immediately to their careers. Given the compensation levels healthcare management professionals can expect after graduation, the investment is a solid one.