What is the Difference Between Health Informatics and Information Systems Degrees?

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Prospective students interested in systems administration or network systems might consider health informatics vs information systems degree. Completion of either type of degree is often the right starting point to take advantage of in-demand careers due to the continued increase in the use of computers and technology to manage information in all industries.

Information Systems Degrees

Undergraduate degree programs in information systems are designed to prepare graduates to handle the design, implementation, and maintenance of various types of computer and technology systems in the workplace. Course work is focused on theory, practical application, and concepts in the field of information systems to build skill in decision making, research, conceptualization, programming, and communication. Core courses often include classes in foundations of information systems, organizational information systems, enterprise architecture, systems analysis, software infrastructure, and systems design. Additional course work focuses on general business processes.

Related: Top 10 Best Online Master's in Information Systems (MIS) Degree Programs

A degree in information systems prepares graduates for positions across all types of industries. A number of specializations are also offered in information systems degree programs. Common options for these concentrations include computer forensics, accounting systems, systems analysis, information systems security, and web administration.

Health Informatics Degrees

A degree in health informatics prepares graduates to handle the management of information technology by building foundations in database management, systems design, network infrastructure, and communication. A degree in health informatics focuses specifically on managing information systems in health care settings.

After completing introductory and foundation course work in areas similar to those in information systems degree programs, health informatics students will also be required to complete courses to prepare for working in the field of health care. This requires students to take classes that often include health care delivery systems, data management in health care organizations, health care coding and classification, ethics in health care, and health care organizational management.

Career Paths in Health Informatics vs Information Systems

Many of the position titles a graduate of an information systems degree program and a graduate of a health informatics degree program are similar. These positions include working as an information analyst, information technology specialist, database administrator, and information systems manager. Additional information for possible careers can also be found on the Association for Information Systems website.

In many cases, the setting of the position is often the biggest difference in careers related to these two specific degrees. Health informatics graduates are most likely to work in physician offices, hospitals, long-term care facilities, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, government health care agencies, and other health-related companies and organizations.

While health informatics students focused on issues and systems related directly to health care, information systems students are more likely to complete general business courses to pursue careers at educational institutions, technology corporations, consulting firms, retail and restaurant companies, computer and web services firms, financial institutions, law enforcement agencies, government offices, and manufacturing companies.

Gaining knowledge and skill in the management of information technology and systems is often considered to be one of the top choices in choosing an education and future career path. Graduates considering positions in health informatics vs information systems can consider how to tailor courses and experience in order to best fulfill the requirements for each of these careers.