Published on September 20, 2021 by Sarah Waller  
CHS Spiral Staircase Feature

Samford University’s School of Public Health has launched an undergraduate major in health informatics and analytics, designed to prepare graduates to be the critical link between health care providers, payers and patients by analyzing data for decision-making.

Health systems are data-rich entities, and the demand for professionals who can plan, build, analyze, and run the digital foundations of modern health care is booming.

“Health informatics and analytics have emerged as a priority in health care due to technology and a reliance on electronic data for decision-making,” said Lakesha Kinnerson, assistant professor in the school’s Department of Healthcare Administration and Informatics. “This degree will equip students with the knowledge and critical thinking skills to be effective—wherever health care data is being collected, stored and disseminated.”

The program’s curriculum integrates hands-on learning with traditional classroom education, requiring all students to complete at least one internship with an organization relating to the field of health informatics and analytics.

In addition, students will earn a Geographic Information System (GIS) certificate from Samford and a Basic Certificate in Quality and Safety through the Institute for Health Improvement. The program also prepares students to sit for certification as a Health Data Analyst (CHDA) through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

“Our program is unique because we collaborated with content experts across schools at Samford to create a curriculum that includes health informatics and analytics, health care administration, public health, geography and business,” said Carol Ratcliffe, professor and chair of the Department of Healthcare Administration and Informatics.

“There are numerous career pathways available to graduates of this program, which is why we, as a faculty, are committed to working alongside students to ensure their education aligns with their goals and aspirations.”

Students who declare a health informatics and analytics major also have the opportunity to add a concentration in sports injury prevention analytics. In doing so, they can apply to complete an internship in  Samford’s Center for Sports Analytics, which is home to Project SAMson.

The concentration was created in response to the growing demand of using predictive analysis and tracking metrics to prevent injuries in athletes. Students who choose this concentration take additional courses in Samford’s nutrition and kinesiology departments. 

In addition, students interested in this major can take advantage of the school’s fast-track Master of Science in Health Informatics and Analytics program, which enables students to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in just five years.