B.S. Health Informatics Areas of Study
The WGU Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics program was developed in consultation with our Information Technology Councilmade up of industry expertsand in consultation with the Health Informatics Working Group comprised of healthcare industry experts representing all facets of health care informatics. The competencies in quantitative literacy, language and communications, and problem solving ensure that the graduate has the well-rounded educational background that is required in today’s challenging environment. The courses of study included in the health informatics professional courses were developed in alignment with the areas of study, courses, and knowledge clusters established by CAHIIM.
The general education courses focus on basic subject matter knowledge that is typically included in baccalaureate level programs. Evaluation of your previous college transcripts may clear assessment requirements for some areas of the liberal arts domain, which could shorten your program of study by removing assessments. To waive or clear a course, the transcript must show that you have taken equivalent classes in the content areas and passed those classes with a C grade or higher at an accredited institution of higher education.
This course focuses on application of grammatical standards, reading skills, basic numeracy and calculation skills, basic algebra skills, basic geometry principles, and basic data and probability skills.
English Composition I
This course introduces learners to the types of writing and thinking that is valued in college and beyond. Students will practice writing in several genres and several media, with emphasis placed on writing and revising academic arguments. It covers the following competencies:
- The graduate applies appropriate grammatical rules, sentence structure, and writing conventions.
- The graduate selects appropriate rhetorical strategies that improve writing and argumentation.
- The graduate appropriately uses a given writing style.
- The graduate uses appropriate writing and revision strategies.
- The graduate integrates credible and relevant sources into written arguments.
- The graduate composes an appropriate narrative for a given context.
- The graduate composes an appropriate argumentative essay for a given context.
English Composition II
This course covers the following competencies:
- The graduate evaluates the quality, credibility, and relevance of evidence in order to integrate evidence into a final research paper.
- The graduate applies steps of the writing process appropriately to improve quality of writing.
- The graduate composes an argumentative research paper.
Elements of Effective Communication
This course covers the following competencies:
- The graduate applies foundational elements of effective communication.
- The graduate applies appropriate communication strategies in interpersonal and group contexts.
- The graduate demonstrates effective presentational communication strategies in a given context.
This course provides a detailed exploration into basic algebraic concepts and functions and their use in describing, interpreting, and modeling real-world situations. Topics include: real numbers, algebraic expressions, equations and inequalities, graphs and functions, polynomial and rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, and linear systems of equations. It covers the following competencies:
- The graduate determines solutions for and models linear and quadratic equations and inequalities.
- The graduate creates functions that model data for various situations.
- The graduate determines solutions for and models polynomial and rational functions.
- The graduate determines solutions for and models exponential and logarithmic functions.
- The graduate determines solutions for systems of linear equations.
Anatomy and Physiology
These courses focus on the following areas: nervous and sensory systems; circulation and hematology; respiratory and cardiovascular systems; muscular, skeletal, and integumentary systems; lymphatic and endocrine systems; digestive, hepatic, and urinary systems; reproductive system; support, protection, and movement; control and regulation; transportation, absorption, and excretion; reproduction; growth, and maturation; terminology and the body plan.
Introduction to Probability and Statistics
This course covers the following competencies:
- The graduate evaluates categorical and quantitative data using appropriate numerical measures and graphical displays.
- The graduate evaluates the relationship between two variables through the creation and interpretation of numerical summaries and visual displays.
- The graduate evaluates the sampling methods used in studies including the effect they have on conclusions that can be made.
- The graduate designs and conducts observational studies, controlled experiments, and surveys to explore population characteristics.
- The graduate applies theoretical or empirical probability to a situation to quantify uncertainty.
- The graduate determines the probability of events using simulations, diagrams, and probability rules.
Literature, Arts, and the Humanities
These courses focus on content, concepts, terminology, methodology, models, and issues within and across the disciplines of the humanities.
This course focuses on fundamentals of geography, places and regions, physical and human systems, and the environment.
Integrated Natural Science
These courses focus on scientific concepts and inquiry as well as key concepts across and within disciplines of natural science.
Collegiate Level Reasoning and Problem Solving
Content includes problem identification and clarification, planning and information gathering, identifying assumptions and values, analysis and interpretation of information and data, reaching well-founded conclusions, and identifying the role of critical thinking in the disciplines and professions.
This course covers skills and competencies in relation to the organization, components, and operation of healthcare systems; licensure and accreditation, quality, and reimbursement; access to healthcare, federal healthcare, and legislative programs; and trends in healthcare delivery.
Health Data Management Across the Continuum
This course covers skills and competencies in health data structures, usage, and data collection tools, data quality assessment and integrity, types and content of health records, and health information standards and regulations for documentation.
Financial Resource Management
The focus of this area of study is developing competencies in the management of financial resources at the departmental or organizational level. Competency areas include analysis of reimbursement systems and how the coding and billing function impacts the revenue cycle; general accounting principles; legal, regulatory, and compliance issues related to finance; strategic financial planning, and management control processes.
Healthcare Statistics and Research
This course builds competencies in selecting, applying, and evaluating research methods in solving organizational problems or implementing outcome effectiveness strategies in a healthcare organization. It focuses on skills needed in daily operations for gathering statistical data used in planning and evaluating processes in the healthcare workplace. Also included is the role of the health informatics professional in biomedical research.
Health Information Technology
Information and Communication Technology Foundations
This course focuses on PC components, setting up a basic PC workstation, basic software installation, identifying compatibility issues and recognizing and preventing basic security risks.
This course builds competencies in project planning, management, and evaluation, as well as the adoption of new technologies in a healthcare organization. It includes competencies in evaluating medical practice workflow and functional needs of end-users, evaluating data infrastructure and information technology processes and systems, and analyzing the fiscal and human resource commitment needed in all phases of implementing and adopting new technologies. The use of health information management in diverse settings (such as health information exchanges, the personal health record, and various types of healthcare facilities) is included, as it applies to the electronic exchange of information.
Health Information Systems Design and Management
This course builds competencies in analyzing how information systems, computers, network architecture, the Internet, and emerging technologies influence health information management in healthcare organizations; database management; methodologies and policies for data mining and information retrieval; and risk assessment and contingency planning for the security of health information in compliance with federal and state law.
Quality and Performance Management Methods
The focus area in this course requires demonstrated competencies in analyzing how quality improvement programs are developed, implemented, and improved; and skills necessary for management in the healthcare environment.
Legal and Ethical Considerations in Healthcare
Legal and Ethical Considerations in Healthcare
This course builds competencies in applying conceptual aspects of legislation, law, regulations, and standards in health informatics, evaluating legal aspects of risk management and quality improvement initiatives, applying ethics to health information management, and analyzing how compliance requirements impact healthcare organizations.
Information Technology Fundamentals
These courses cover the foundations of the field of information technology. It prepares the student for the subject matter domains of the program. To clear a course, the transcript must show that students have taken equivalent classes in the content areas and passed those courses with a C grade or higher at an accredited institution of higher education. Certain industry certifications will also transfer.
IT Fundamentals I
This course focuses on networked resources, hardware and software for the Internet business, and web browser function, use, configuration, and customization. The student will also organize and produce a simple but functioning website.
IT Fundamentals II and III
These courses focus on understanding the personal computer components, and their function, in a desktop system as well as computer data storage and retrieval; classifying, installing, configuring, optimizing, upgrading, and troubleshooting printers, laptops, portable devices, operating systems, networks, and system security; recommending appropriate tools, diagnostic procedures, preventative maintenance and troubleshooting techniques for personal computer components in a desktop system; strategies for identifying, preventing, and reporting safety hazards and environmental/human accidents in a technological environments; and effective communication with colleagues and clients as well as job-related professional behavior.
This course focuses on the anatomy of word building and medical terminology as it relates to body organization and directional terms, the integumentary system, special senses of the eye and ear, the musculoskeletal system, the digestive system, blood, lymphatic, immunity and infections, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, nervous system and mental health, urinary system, endocrine system, male and female reproductive systems, and cancer.
This course focuses on the organization of the human body, tissues, glands and membranes, the integumentary system, the sensory system, skeletal and muscular systems, the digestive system, blood, vessels and circulation, lymphatic system, immunity and disease, heart and respiratory system, nervous, urinary and endocrine systems, and male and female reproductive systems.
This course focuses on basic principles of pharmacology as well as pharmacology for the peripheral nervous system, the central nervous system, the heart, vascular and renal systems, respiratory system, the gastrointestinal system, the endocrine system, and of infectious diseases. It also includes antineoplastics and drugs affecting the immune system.
Leadership and Management
Understanding how to lead and manage in the business environment is critical to a business graduate’s success in the workplace. Students are asked to demonstrate the ability to apply these concepts in Organizational Behavior and Leadership and Management in a series of scenario-based problems in the leadership concepts and applications tasks. Prior coursework does not transfer to meet the requirements of this domain.
Organizational Behavior and Management
Focuses on management and leadership concepts and applications.
Healthcare Compliance and Coding
Healthcare Compliance and Coding Management Effectiveness
This course covers skills and concepts in analyzing the structure and organization of the coding function as it relates to the revenue cycle. It includes coding management considerations, process improvement, and reporting issues related to compliance. It also builds competencies in structuring, developing, and implementing a compliance program within a healthcare organization including internal and external auditing, staff training, and program evaluation. It covers the following competencies:
- The graduate describes the role of the coding professional, identifies the different coding functions, and completes a job analysis of coding roles.
- The graduate designs a follow-up action plan for external and internal compliance audits.
- The graduate describes the process for recruiting, hiring, and retaining coding staff, and evaluating coding candidate qualifications.
- The graduate describes the concepts and process behind the Charge Description Master (CDM) translation table.
- The graduate describes internal coding function assessments and strategies for maximizing productivity and quality, develops and implements productivity and quality standards, and performs coding volume analyses.
- The graduate explains the value, components, and roles in a compliance plan and prepares a Health Information Department compliance plan.
- The graduate understands and applies appropriate compliance guidelines pertaining to the ethical and legal issues surrounding healthcare information management.
- The graduate designs a basic compliance training program for the Health Information Department.
ICD and CPT Coding
This course focuses on skills and concepts students need to select and accurately use the International Classification of Diseases and Current Procedural Terminology for the coding function. It covers the following competencies:
- The graduate describes the development, purpose, content of the International Classification of Diseases system and applies its principles and guidelines.
- The graduate selects the correct codes for principal diagnosis, additional diagnoses, and primary diagnosis.
- The graduate correctly codes data pertaining to the major body systems.
- The graduate correctly codes data pertaining to pregnancy, childbirth, the puerperium, perinatal period, and congenital anomalies.
- The graduate correctly codes data pertaining to injuries and poisonings, manifestations, complications, and treatment of complications of surgical and medical care and mental disorders.
- The graduate recognizes the structural similarities and differences between International Classification of Diseases versions ICD 9CM, ICD-10CM, and ICD-10-PCS.
- The graduate describes the development, purpose, content of the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding Systems (HCPCS) and applies their principles and guidelines.
- The graduate practices correct and precise coding using Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes.
- The graduate defines the data requirements needed to support provider reimbursement and articulate the alternative healthcare setting federal legislation prospective payment system in Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes.
- The graduate defines the data requirements needed to support the evaluation and management determination in Current Procedural Terminology (CPT).
This course focuses on core database concepts, manipulating data, data storage, and database administration.
Focuses on skills and concepts students need to know to plan and implement projects. The project initiation and planning process is covered in-depth, culminating in the creation of a project schedule. Learning how to manage business concerns such as cost and risk is balanced by thorough coverage of best practices in managing people and resources. Students will also learn how to manage change and the steps necessary in closing a project.
This course covers the following competencies:
- The graduate describes and explains key components of project plans.
- The graduate creates a project plan.
- The graduate implements, controls, and coordinates projects according to project plans.
- The graduate explains the strategies and processes of project closure, acceptance, and delivery.
Professional Practice Portfolio
Professional Practice - Technical Level
This course includes competencies students will apply in the first of two clinical practice experiences. They include analyzing operational management of a healthcare organization and applying health informatics/ information management skills. It covers the following competencies:
- The graduate evaluates how operational components within healthcare organizations demonstrate adherence to government regulatory standards, accreditation guidelines, and quality improvement initiatives.
- The graduate applies appropriate basic health informatics and information management skills based on organizational needs within healthcare organizations.
- The graduate displays the qualities and demeanor of professionalism, practices reflection, recognizes the need for and adheres to requirements for confidentiality, and engages in ethical behaviors as an independently functioning health informatics professional.
Professional Practice - Management Level
This course includes competencies students will apply in the second of two clinical practice experiences. They include analyzing operational management of a healthcare organization; applying health informatics/ information management skills; and demonstrating leadership skills as a health informatics professional at a healthcare organization. It covers the following competencies:
- The graduate analyzes how the operational management of a healthcare organization adheres to government regulations, accreditation guidelines, and quality improvement initiatives.
- The graduate applies health informatics/information management skills at the managerial level at a healthcare organization.
- The graduate exemplifies high professional standards, upholds confidentiality requirements, promotes the guidelines of the American Health Information Management Association Code of Ethics, and demonstrates leadership skills as a health informatics professional at a healthcare organization.