Academic Education

An Online-Based Master’s Program in Health Information Management for Healthcare Professionals Case Study

The University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology (UMIT) is owned by the state of Tirol and is located in Hall in Tirol, Austria. As a modern university, UMIT is specialized in new vocational fields and research areas and thus responds to the latest challenges in healthcare and technology.

Focus areas include: mechatronics, medical technology, medical and biomedical informatics, psychology, physiotherapy, health sciences, nursing science and gerontology, supplemented by university training courses. UMIT offers academic education and training in fields that have turned out to be of increasing importance in modern healthcare and technology.

Modern healthcare is unthinkable without modern health information technology (IT). Traditionally, Austrian universities offer full-time programs in medical informatics or health informatics at the bachelor and master degree levels.

However, healthcare professionals, such as physicians and nurses, also need a solid basis on topics related to health IT to be able to efficiently select, implement and use modern health IT systems such as electronic patient records. Until recently, these health IT topics were not integrated into basic curricula in medicine, nursing or related programs in Austria. Thus, both physicians and nurses often lack basic competencies in health IT. As a consequence, the “voice of the users” is not heard when designing, selecting and implementing health IT solutions, leading to insufficiently designed and user-“unfriendly” systems that do not fully exploit the inherent possibilities of health IT.

A recent market analysis also confirmed that the health IT industry is looking to hire healthcare professionals who have an in-depth knowledge of their professional fields, and who combine this with competencies in health IT and health information management.

This motivated UMIT, as Tyrolean state university, to establish postgraduate courses and programs on health information management for healthcare professionals.