Master of Health Informatics

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Comments about Master of Health Informatics - At the institution - Halifax - Nova Scotia

  • Practical experience
    There is an internship component associated with this program.
  • Academic title
    Master of Health Informatics
  • Course description

    The Master of Health Informatics program is a two year program. The sequence of courses to be taken is as follows:

    Term 1 - Fall

    • HINF 6000 - Introduction to Health Informatics
    • HINF 6030 - Statistics for Health Informatics
    • HINF 6101 - Health Information Flow and Use
    • HINF 6110 - Health Information Systems and Issues
    • HINF 6120 - Fundamentals of Clinical Care for Non-Clinicians
      OR HINF 6220 - Networks and the Web for Health Informatics

    Term 2 - Winter

    • HINF 6020 - Research Methods
    • HINF 6102 - Health Information Flow and Standards
    • HINF 6230 - Knowledge Management for Health Informatics
    • HINF 6300 - Project Management for Health Information Projects

    Term 3 - Fall

    • HINF 6210 - Data Mining for Health Informatics
    • HINF 9000 - Thesis PLUS 1 elective
      OR 3 electives

    Term 4 - Winter

    • HINF 9000 - Thesis
      OR HINF 7000 - Internship

    Note: Students take either a thesis or an Internship.

    Course Descriptions

    HINF 6000: Introduction to Health Informatics

    A one-day orientation to develop an understanding of health information and to provide an introduction to all core elements of the program. Included will be an introduction to the philosophy of the program and to the basic ethical framework that will apply throughout the program. Students will have an opportunity to understand the nature of confidentiality and security in health care and sign the necessary releases so that they can participate in various health care review processes such as Grand Rounds and reviews of health records. This will also be the opportunity for students and advisors to determine the necessary tutorials and to start developing project/thesis ideas for the program. Students will also have the chance to make valuable connections with the clinical departments. Check out our 2007 agenda


    HINF 6020: Research Methods

    A survey course on the various kinds of research being conducted in the health care field, what kinds of information/technological support is used and needed by researchers. It will also deal with
    research integrity: knowing that the research has been conducted ethically and that the methods used are appropriate to the research question being asked,
    how well the research question addresses issues in health and health care.
    The generation of hypotheses within research
    The impact of the structure of the questions asked, notions of causality assessment, and the use of surrogate measures
    The nature of "fuzziness" and its impact on the understanding of information
    The number of health information databases currently in use for research purposes, their compatibility and linkages between them, and the consequences of these factors.
    Access to databases
    The existence of shadow databases and shadow health records
    Risk Analysis: Its impact on information and its meaning


    HINF 6030: Statistics for Health Informatics

    The study of advanced statistical techniques appropriate to health research and information management, including the appropriate uses of each technique, its strengths and weaknesses. It will also focus on deriving the meaning of the information based on the techniques used. This course provides an opportunity for students to learn and understand the basic principles that underlie health research design, data analysis and interpretation of results. Students will acquire the necessary skills to carry out a wide range of statistical analyses. Both SAS and STATA computer package programs will be used.


    HINF 6101: Health Information and Use

    This course tracks the flow and use of health information in relation to population and individual health needs, including its generation, collection, movement, storage and use in various settings. The course includes a discussion of health and health information, and of the measurement of health and health services processes. Topics include:

    Information systems
    Electronic medical record
    Designing and evaluating information systems
    Healthcare terminologies
    The trouble with coding
    Clinical decision support systems


    HINF 6102: Health Information and Standards

    This seminar course discusses technical and philosophical issues related to the capture and use of information. Issues include nomenclature; the reliability and accuracy of coding schema; interoperability; and, ISO/CEN.HL7 and Infoway standards development. Student projects will track the flow and use of information for hospital, community and public health purposes. The learning objectives are: 1) understand the standards lifecycle from identification of a need to standards maintenance; 2) be able to use the standards models; 3) test whether information flow as it exists is compatible with current standards; 4) recommend what is necessary to achieve compliance; 5) review flow of information in several domains, including public health.


    HINF 6110: Health Information Systems & Issues

    Information related to health flows through a variety of health care delivery systems, including acute care hospitals, community health centres, universities, private clinical practices, home care services, government departments of health, national research and information agencies, and others. To effectively understand health informatics, the student will also learn about supporting health information systems, how they operate, the issues they generate and their impact on the health of populations. This will include an understanding of the health infostructures and their strengths and weaknesses. This course will provide the opportunity to learn about these systems and how they impact on the flow and use of information. There will be particular attention paid to ethical and practical issues related to health informatics. Topics include:
    Exploration of health service delivery systems
    An examination of the barriers to information collection, use and application in health systems
    Examination of the health information issues in these systems and in the interaction between and among them
    The roles and work patterns of various health professions and their use of information
    The impact of varying philosophies of health and health care on the generation and use of information
    The development of policy to maximize effective use of information within and among systems
    The role and impact of current health information systems, including the individual health record
    Some ethical issues related to the above.


    HINF 6120: Fundamentals of Clinical Care for Non-Clinicians

    This course consists of lectures and student-led seminars. The purpose is to enable non-clinicians to communicate with clinical experts by a) outlining the purposes of health care b)providing information about measures of health status (comfort and function) c) outlining diagnostic strategies, d) outlining how clinicians make diagnoses, including information about diagnostic strategies, with particular reference to common ailments and e) outlining treatment choices and how clinicians distinguish between appropriate treatments for a particular condition again with reference to common afflictions.


    HINF 6210: Data Mining for Health Informatics

    The workflow of healthcare organizations involves the generation and collection of various kinds of data relating to clinical practices, clinical trials, patient information, resource administration, policies and research. Traditionally, statistical techniques are used to derive some operational information from the data. Data mining methods provide the opportunity to derive, in an exploratory manner, valuable healthcare .knowledge. in terms of associations, sequential patterns, classifications, predictions and symbolic rules. Such inductively derived healthcare knowledge can not only provide strategic insights into the practice delivery of healthcare but also significantly impact the three main areas of health informatics: Clinical Health Informatics, Research & Development Health Informatics and Applied Health Informatics.

    The goal of this course is to provide a conceptual understanding of the data mining process.starting with data pre-processing to data mining to data mining result interpretation.with respect to a healthcare setting. Students will be introduced to prominent data mining methods (i.e. algorithms), methodologies, and applications. Hands-on experience will be provided in terms of an in-class data mining project (using a data mining application) that attempts to address a healthcare decision-support problem using real-life healthcare data. From a data mining infra-structure point of view, students will be introduced to data warehousing and techniques to link data mining applications with databases. In-class readings of salient healthcare data mining papers and case-studies will provide a sense of healthcare-related data mining solutions and research directions.


    HINF 6220: Networks and the Web for Health Informatics

    At the close of this course, candidates will be able to design databases and program web applications using the client-server paradigm. The students will gain an understanding of how clients and servers communicate across the Web, the protocols involved, and how information is stored in and retrieved from databases on the Web. Patients, providers, administrators and researchers need access to information; and health information is often stored in different computers. Consequently, it is important to be able to link computers so they can work together and contribute to integrated information systems. The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to the principle architectures and techniques used to turn individual computers into an information system.


    HINF 6230 - Knowledge Management for Health Informatics

    The goal of this course is to characterize healthcare knowledge and to examine the technical issues related to the development and deployment of knowledge management solutions for managing healthcare knowledge to support three main activities: Clinical decision support, practitioner and patient education, and health administration. At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to (a) identify the presence (or lack) of healthcare knowledge within a healthcare enterprise; (b) capture it using various knowledge representation formalisms; and (c) utilize it via new or existing knowledge management infrastructures to impact the delivery the healthcare.

    This course provides an technology-oriented introduction to the field of knowledge management, and its application to health informatics. The course examines technical issues related to the management of healthcare knowledge from an enterprise perspective and deals with methods to capture, organize and utilize healthcare knowledge to improve the delivery of healthcare. The course is designed along the lines of the standard knowledge management lifecycle, including topics that address knowledge acquisition, organization, processing, sharing and operationalization within a healthcare enterprise.


    HINF 6300: Project Management for Health Information Projects

    The class will cover the principles of management for information technology projects. Project management for information technology has to take into account not only the most effective processes for people to work out the elements of a project, but also how to ensure the best use of information technology available for a project. The way in which groups work most effectively with technology and with each other will impact on the success of a project. Students will learn generic principles of project management as well as of information management within projects. Through case studies and field investigations of actual health information projects, students will gain a real-world understanding.


    HINF 6310: Management Skills Development

    This elective course will focus on the concepts and skills needed to manage groups of people and to provide leadership in the practice of health informatics. Because the role of a health informatician is usually that of a coordinator or facilitator of collaborations between Information Technology and health system user groups, the ability to understand and manage such processes is crucial. Strong management skills are required to effectively develop questions and solutions and to implement solutions effectively; especially when the users are often from varied disciplines and circumstances.(This course is cross-listed with BUSI 6523 and ECMM 6022

    Topics include:
    the role of management skills in health informatics
    consultation and negotiation
    team building and leadership
    partnership or collaboration building
    organizational behavior (introductory)
    learning facilitation
    the role of management/leadership in developing the most effective human computer interface.


    HINF 6901: Directed Studies

    This elective course is not offered every term. Students wishing to take a Directed Studies course must discuss this, in detail, with the proposed supervisor. A Directed Studies course must be approved by both the Directed Studies supervisor and the Health Informatics Executive Committee. A Directed Studies proposal form (available on DalMedix) is required. It is completed by the student and signed by the Directed Studies supervisor. The Directed Studies proposal form must contain a description of the proposed directed study, a set of milestones to be achieved, and the criteria upon which the work will be evaluated.

    Students taking this course are not permitted to take HINF 6903: Special Topics in Health Informatics.


    HINF 6903: Special Topics in Health Informatics

    This elective course is not offered every term. A Special Topics course is offered only when a need for teaching on a specific topic in Health Informatics is identified. Students wishing to take a Special Topics course must discuss this, in detail, with the proposed supervisor. Special Topics courses must be approved both by the Special Topics supervisor and the Health Informatics Executive Committee. A Special Topics proposal form (available on DalMedix) is required. It is completed by the student in consultation with the Special Topics supervisor and is signed by the student and the Special Topics supervisor. The Special Topics proposal form must contain a description of the proposed topic, a set of milestones to be achieved and the criteria upon which the work will be evaluated.

    Students taking this course are not permitted to take HINF 6901: Directed Studies.


    HINF 7000: Internship

    Prerequisite: Completion of the first year of the program

    This is a 13-week work term usually done in the spring and summer term following completion of the first year of the program. Click here for more information.

    Students doing an internship are not permitted to do a thesis (HINF 9000).


    HINF 9000: Graduate Thesis

    Please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies webpages for thesis regulations.

    Students doing a thesis must fill out the thesis supervisor form.

    Students doing a thesis are not permitted to do an internship (HINF 7000).


    Potential Electives for MHI Students

    • ARTC 6001 - Canadian Health Systems
    • ARTC 6007 - Research Knowledge Transfer
    • BUSI 5305 - Management of People
    • BUSI 6312 - Organizational Design
    • BUSI 6313 - Organizational Change
    • BUSI 6517 - Managing the Information
    • BUSI 6519 - Systems Analysis and Applications Development
    • BUSI 6526 - Evaluating the Interface to Products/Services
    • BUSI 6902 - Business and Government: Cross Border Trade
    • CH&E 5000 - Community Health Principles
    • CH&E 6024 - Methods in Clinical Trials
    • CH&E 6042 - Determinants of Health in Human Populations
    • CH&E 6049 - Meta-analysis: How to Interpret and Conduct a Systematic Review or Meta-analysis of the Literature
    • CSCI 6405 - Data Mining and Data Warehousing
    • CSCI 6501 - Intelligent Systems
    • CSCI 6509 - Advanced Topics in Natural Language Processing
    • CSCI 6602 - Digital Image Processing
    • CSCI 6606 - Human Factors in On-Line Information Systems
    • HESA 5315 - Managing Change in Health Systems
    • HESA 5330 - Management and Design of Health Care Organizations
    • HESA 5335 - Information Systems in Health Services
    • HESA 5339 - Health Care Economics for Health Care Administration
    • HESA 5350 - Health Services Management Control and Funding Systems
    • HESA 6100 - Ethics and Decision-Making
    • HESA 6200 - International Health Care Management
    • HESA 6305 - Health Services Outcomes
    • HESA 6310 - Health Care Policy
    • HESA 6325 - Continuing Care Administration
    • HESA 6330 - Strategic Planning in Health Organizations
    • HESA 6360 - Health Care Law
    • HINF 6310 - Management Skills Development (see above for description)
    • HINF 6901 - Directed Studies (see above for description)
    • HINF 6903 - Special Topics in Health Informatics (see above for description)
    • HPRO 5514 - Trends in Health Promotion
    • HPRO 5620 - Topics in Health Psychology
    • INFO 5505 - Applications for Information Management
    • INFO 6300 - Government Information Resources
    • INFO 6620 - Electronic Text Design
    • INFO 6630 - Designing Interactions with Information Systems
    • INFO 6640 - Electronic Access to Information
    • INFO 6681 - Geospatial Information Management
    • LAW 2019 - Law and Technology
    • NURS 6000 - Nursing Administration and Leadership
    • OCCU 6003 - Advanced Practice Issues

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