There are many similarities in roles between a Master's in Healthcare Informatics and a Master's of Science in Nursing in Healthcare Informatics. Both roles work with electronic health records (EHR) that staff use in healthcare systems and organizations. Additionally, both roles have similar functions including collecting, managing, storing, interpreting and sharing patient data and healthcare information. Ultimately, the goal is similar: to utilize technology for the benefit of the healthcare organization.

The way in which this is done and what it is used for differs between the two professions:

A Master's in Healthcare Informatics focuses on technology and communication. An individual without a nursing or medical background can work in this role and typically has an interest in IT as a profession. Listed below are some of the key functions for a Master's in Healthcare Informatics professional:

  • Uses data to improve processes
  • Uses data to improve security
  • Focuses on business aspects in healthcare (i.e. cutting costs through technology use)
  • Includes systems analysis and database analysis
  • Focuses on whole organization IT needs
  • Helpful to have background in IT and medical technology
  • Presents data focused on societal health outcomes

An MSN in Healthcare Informatics degree is for nurses with an interest in the technology aspect of nursing that want to advance their degree and practice. Due to the nursing background, an MSN in Health Informatics has insight into the practical application of EHRs that a graduate with a Master's in Health Informatics may not have. The main focus is to improve patient care, and they support staff through the use of an EHR to do so. Listed below are some core functions for an MSN in Healthcare Informatics:

  • Uses data to improve patient care
  • Uses data to improve patient safety
  • Focuses on enhancing clinical workflow for staff
  • Incorporates nursing skills in electronic health records practice
  • Relates technology to nursing research and theory
  • Enhances nursing and patient communication

RELATED: What Are Some Pros and Cons of Using Electronic Charting (EMR)?

Amanda Bucceri Androus, RN, BSN
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