SRU Trustees send health information management program to BOG for approval

david valentine and kurt schimmel giving presentation

David Valentine and Kurt Schimmel, professors from the School of Business, presented information on the proposed Master of Science in Health Information Management program for approval by Slippery Rock University’s council of trustees.

June 9, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University's council of trustees today voted to advance a master's degree in health information management program to Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education board of governors for approval.

The program will be presented for action at the BOG's July 12-13 meetings.

The proposed 33-credit program would be delivered in a blended format and is described as the "value-added bridge between clinicians, payers, regulators, patients, consumers and technology, with critical skills and competencies essential to building the nationwide health information network and health information exchanges." The program will train individuals to manage technology-based solutions to healthcare-related issues.

The proposed program would join two existing graduate programs in data analytics and health informatics as data-oriented supplements to the health and wellness focus at the University.

According to organizers, the proposed program complements the existing programs in that it would provide a focus on designing, storing and utilizing data for daily operational decisions, while the existing programs design software for analytics and focus on mathematical modeling skills.

Program course scheduling would provide flexibility for working practitioners with courses being taught in eight-week modules during the winter and summer months. The core courses would cover the areas of information systems and their supporting technologies, finance, management and data analysis for practicing healthcare professionals. The program could be completed in 12 months for a full-time student or 24 months for a part-time student. The face-to-face portion of the program would be conducted at the Regional Learning Alliance in Cranberry Township.

"As the data industry grows and analytics are more ingrained in business functions, the health information management program would offer an important skill set for managers working to incorporate data in daily processes," said Kurt Schimmel, professor from the School of Business. "It would train leaders who will be managing technology-based solutions to healthcare-related issues. It would offer modules in health systems, finance, legal and ethical issues, leadership and project management, which will be addressed through appropriate projects within each course. The required capstone will provide an opportunity for students to acquire relevant experience and demonstrate project competence in an applied field of interest."

The program would be the only one of its kind in Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education, and as such, would serve a statewide market.

"The graduates of the program will be uniquely trained to facilitate the information management needs of healthcare organizations in the areas of patient care, billing, insurance and operations within the current legal and regulatory environment for health information and health information security," said David Valentine, professor from the School of Business.

In addition to meeting general University graduate admission standards, students will be expected to have earned a bachelor's degree in a health care or information systems discipline or a bachelor's degree from another discipline with experience in a health care field. The undergraduate grade point average should be at least 3.0. No standardized tests, such as the Graduate Record Exam, will be required, which will streamline the admission process for adult learners. Preference will be given to qualified State System students.

There is also an option as part of the program for students wishing to sit for the prestigious Registered Health Information Administrator certification from the American Health Information Management Association.

Graduates of the program would be able to assume management positions in the field as directors of health information management, senior health information management specialists, health information management compliance analysts and health information management managers.


MEDIA CONTACT: Robb King | 724.738.2199 | robert.king@sru.edu