By Ludvig Brisby Jeppsson
“We sometimes say it is LIU’s best kept secret,” said Professor Marci Swede, chairperson of the department of health sciences, when referring to the Health Information Management (HIM) program.
The fact that the program has a small number of students backs that assessment. But that is something Professor Swede and Professor Marie Colin, director of the HIM program, hope will change in the near future by trying to reach out to students and explain what the program is about.
“The program is a mix between business, science and information technology and it educates students to handle data in the healthcare system,” Colin said. According to Swede, it is this mix that partially explains the low numbers. “People understand what you mean if you say you will study business or nursing, but not many high school students have heard of Health Information Management.”
But the hybrid nature of the program also makes it possible for students to come from different directions. In addition to the bachelor program in Health Information Management, students from any background can apply for the Certificate in Health Information Management, a 30-credit online program taken during their senior year. There is a list of prerequisites to be found on the HIM’s website, and according to Swede, this is a great opportunity for business students to find a career within healthcare or heath studies.
Colin explained that the certificate enables students to take an exam after graduating, to make them a Registered Health Information Administrator. This exam doesn’t require additional coursework and will, according to Colin, make students very attractive on the job market. She said that all students have the opportunity to do an internship. Swede added that one of the best things about the program is the work experience of the current teaching professors.
The strength of the program, according to both Swede and Colin, apart from the variation about working in an interdisciplinary field, is the job market. Data from the Bureau of Labour Statistics backs their market claim. The projected growth in employment from 2014 to 2024 is 14 percent, which is double the average growth, suggesting the secret program won’t stay secret for long.