News Feature | January 11, 2016

Demand For Qualified Health Informatics Talent Leads To Creation Of New Program

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Total Data Market Could Total $115 Billion By 2019

The University of Chicago launches new Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics.

A 2014 Burning Glass report projected the demand for health informatics workers would grow at twice the rate of overall employment, and an analysis of job postings nationwide demonstrated that health informatics jobs remained open longer than many others signaling employers often struggle to fill these positions with qualified candidates.

And since healthcare reform depends on the better management of medical information, or health informatics, there is a growing need for programs which train qualified candidates in healthcare IT and informatics. To help fill this void, the University of Chicago has created a new Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics program.

Developed in collaboration with the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Computation Institute, Department of Computer Science, and Department of Public Health Sciences, this program prepares student “with the necessary knowledge and technical skills to tackle everyday management issues and to guide large projects in clinical and research settings.”

The program is geared toward clinicians and other healthcare employees, as well as computer workers seeking to apply skills to a healthcare setting, and joins two existing master's programs offered at Northwestern University and at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The University of Chicago program is being led by ITM Associate Director Samuel Volchenboum, MD, PhD, and David McClintock, MD, Lab Director of the ITM’s Clinical Resource Center (CRC) and will begin in March with a 15- or 27-month schedule, as well as “boot camps” in statistics and health sciences to prepare enrollees in these prerequisite areas.

Volchenboum, “There are still shortages of these programs in general compared to the number of people who need this training.”

Frank Myeroff, president of Direct Consulting Associates, a health IT staffing firm in Solon, OH told health IT shortages are substantial and growing. “Technology is moving forward, and we don't have the staff for it. Tens of thousands of jobs are going to be needed and we don't have the people for it.”