By BVS Staff
Our search for the top 10 best value online Ph.D. health informatics degrees began with an initial pool of just under 20 programs. These included both online doctorate in healthcare degrees and online business administration and computer science degrees with specialties in health informatics. We then filtered these results to those offerings with graduate tuition costs of less than $20,000 a year. Finally, we applied the rating and ranking methodology listed below. What resulted is the following ranking of best value online doctorate in health informatics programs. Note that in cases where two or more schools received the same number of points, the more affordable school appears higher in the ranking.
Rating and Ranking Methodology
- Under $20,000—3 points
- Under $15,000—4 points
- Under $10,000—5 points
- Under $5,000-6 points
- Content Customizations (e.g. Minors, Concentrations, Specializations, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option
- Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option
- 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that "wowed" us
#1 –Dakota State University
Online Doctor of Science in Information Systems: Healthcare Information Systems
The online Ph.D. in health informatics degree option from Dakota State University is a unique Doctor of Information Systems with a research specialization in Healthcare Information Systems. This robust program includes course titles such as Foundations in Healthcare Information; Healthcare Informatics, Information Systems and Technology; and Data Analytics in Healthcare. The coursework is interdisciplinary, and a passing grade on an oral and written comprehensive exam is required prior to graduation from this online doctor in health informatics program. Possible job titles for graduates include health informatics researcher, professor, or IS director.
Graduate Tuition: $5,483
For more information: Dakota State University
#2 –American Sentinel University
Online Doctor of Nursing Practice in Informatics Leadership
The online doctorate in health informatics option from American Sentinel University is a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Informatics Leadership. The program is only 28 months long and includes just one four-day residency on campus in Aurora, Colorado. Featured courses include Perspectives on Nursing Informatics; Application of Nursing Informatics in Administration, Leadership, and Management; and Application of Nursing Informatics in Clinical Practice. Graduates of this online doctorate health informatics degree program go on to serve as Chief Nursing Informatics Officers in top hospitals around the country. American Sentinel's DNP health informatics program is very affordable, and most students graduate without any student debt.
Graduate Tuition: $6,000
For more information: American Sentinel University
#3 –California Intercontinental University
Online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA): Healthcare Management and Leadership
California Intercontinental University's online doctorate in health informatics offering is an accelerated online DBA in Healthcare Management and Leadership. The curriculum is versatile, preparing graduates to work in a variety of executive positions in healthcare, including informatics. Specific course titles include Quality Management in Healthcare: A Systems Approach, Managing Innovation Integrating Technology, Organizational Change and Development in Management Systems, and Strategies for Healthcare Leadership. This particular online doctorate health informatics degree can be completed in just two years.
Graduate Tuition: $8,010
For more information: California Intercontinental University
#4 –University of South Alabama
Online Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nursing Informatics
The University of South Alabama's online doctorate in health informatics is technically a DNP program in Nursing Informatics. Standout course titles include Scientific Underpinnings of Advanced Nursing Practice, Evidence-Based Practice, and Quality Improvement in Health Care, Clinical Prevention and Population Health, and Organizational & Systems Leadership. Classes can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis, and the vast majority of program requirements can be met online, though there is a 3-4 day clinical orientation held on campus at the beginning of the program. No thesis or dissertation is required for this online doctorate in health informatics degree program, but students will be asked to complete an evidence-based scholarly project.
Graduate Tuition: $7,326
For more information: University of South Alabama
#5 –Liberty University
Online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA): Healthcare Management
The online doctorate in health informatics offering from Liberty University is a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Healthcare Management. The 60-credit hour program consists of 48 hours of core courses such as Organizational & Executive Coaching, Strategic Thinking for Decision-Making, and Quality Management & Productivity as well as 12 hours in the Healthcare Management cognate, including classes like Healthcare Informatics, Healthcare Administration, and Legal & Ethical Issues for Healthcare Professionals. Successful completion of a doctoral dissertation is also required for this online phd in information technology management/health informatics program.
Graduate Tuition: $8,051
#6 –Colorado Technical University
Online Doctor of Computer Science: Enterprise Information Systems
Colorado Technical University's online doctorate in health informatics offering is a 96-credit hour Doctor of Computer Science with an emphasis in Enterprise Information Systems. This degree program is designed for working professionals with a background in computer science and is general enough to be applied to a variety of different industries, including the health care industry. Course titles include Enterprise Management Concepts and Databases, Information Technology Service Management, Futuring and Innovation, and Enterprise Technology Architecture. In addition to instructional courses, nine doctoral research courses are required prior to graduation from this online doctorate in health informatics. A unique feature of this program is that students who do not yet hold a masters degree may apply and begin work on their doctorate while simultaneously earning their masters.
Graduate Tuition: $12,139
#7 –Capella University
Online Doctor of Philosophy in Business Management: Information Technology Management
Capella University's online doctorate in health informatics offering is a PhD program in Information Technology Management made available through the university's School of Business and Technology. In addition to core business courses, enrolled students will take specialization classes such as Information Technology Leaders as Partners in Organizational Strategic Planning, Guiding the Implementation of Information Technology Policies and Processes, and Innovating Information Technology Life Cycle Management Processes in a Changing Environment. A comprehensive examination and a dissertation are required for completion of this online doctorate in information technology management program. Note that some weekend residency experiences are also required.
Graduate Tuition: $14,526
For more information: Capella University
#8 –Walden University
Online Doctor of Information Technology (DIT)
The online doctorate in health informatics offering from Walden University is a general Doctor of Information Technology, or DIT. The curriculum for this program prepares students for IT leadership roles in a variety of organizations, including health care facilities. Students will explore topics such as integrated systems design, IT research methods, IT project management, and leadership skills in IT among other related subject areas. A unique feature of this online PhD in information technology management is that students who hold a bachelors degree may enroll in the program and earn a master's degree along the way to their doctorate. Note that a residency may be required for degree completion.
Graduate Tuition: $12,844
For more information: Walden University
#9 –University of Minnesota
Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): Nursing Informatics
The University of Minnesota's online doctorate in health informatics option is a 69-credit hour Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Nursing Informatics. This offering is a three-year, full-time program comprised of course titles such as Consumer Health Informatics, Population Health Informatics, Applied Health Care Databases: Database Principles and Data Evaluation, and Interdisciplinary Healthcare Informatics. Graduates of the program may find careers as chief nursing information officers, nursing/health informatics consultants, clinical informatics coordinators, informatics nurse educators, and more. This online doctorate health informatics program also prepares students to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) certification exam in Informatics Nursing.
Graduate Tuition: $16,240
For more information: University of Minnesota
#10 –Northcentral University
Online Doctor of Business Administration: Management Information Systems
Northcentral University's online doctorate in health informatics option is a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program with a specialization in Management Information Systems (MIS). This 54-credit hour program consists of 18 courses, including specialization courses such as Database Administration and Management, Information Technology Decision Support, Enterprise Network Architecture, and IT Data Communications Management. Completion time is an estimated 39 months, and students will graduate prepared to apply business administration and IT management skills to the healthcare environment.
Graduate Tuition: $16,821
For more information: Northcentral University
Online PhD Health Informatics Degrees: Overview
Health informatics is the science of collecting, analyzing, and managing healthcare information in such a way that it improves overall patient care. With the recent proliferation of information technology, this field has exploded with opportunity, both concerning employment as well as the potential for this discipline to transform the field of healthcare as we know it. Many colleges and universities have begun to offer online doctorate health informatics degree programs to keep up with this new development in healthcare and information technology management. These offerings allow professionals who already have a strong background in healthcare or information technology to specialize in this growing field.
Various Types of Online PhD Health Informatics Degrees
There are several different avenues by which one might arrive at a career in health informatics. For example, those students who have careers in business or computer science may wish to continue studies in this field while simultaneously exploring the applications their skills can have in the booming healthcare industry. Alternatively, health care professionals may desire to specialize in health informatics. Thus, the type of degree program a student may choose will depend on his or her academic background and work experience. Below are some examples of degrees that can lead to qualification as a health informatics professional:
- Online Doctor of Philosophy in Business Management
- Online Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
- Online Doctor of Information Technology (DIT)
- Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
- Online Doctor of Computer Science
Curriculum for Online PhD Health Informatics Degrees
There is no standard curriculum for online PhD health informatics degrees, and as we mentioned, different types of degree programs can lead to a career in health informatics, so coursework can vary significantly from program to program. Some sample course titles specifically related to health informatics may include:
- Introduction to Health Informatics
- Clinical Software Engineering
- Health Organizational Ethics
- Information Security, Evaluation and Policy
- Health Information Lifecycle Governance
- Leadership and Management for Health Informatics
- Information Retrieval
Again, many online doctorate health informatics degrees are, in reality, business administration or management degrees with specialties in healthcare administration or informatics. These programs will emphasize skills necessary for success in leadership and management roles and will include classes such as:
- Leading Change Through Health IT
- Human Resource Development
- Strategic Allocation of Financial Resources
- Global Business Finance
- Strategic Management: A Global Approach
- Marketing Research in Consumer Behavior
All online doctorate in health informatics programs—like all PhD offerings—also have strong research components. Not only will you take courses in complex research methods, but you will likely have to apply advanced research skills to a culminating thesis, dissertation, or scholarly project before graduating from the program. Some research courses that you may encounter include:
- Advanced Qualitative Research
- Quantitative Research Techniques
- Survey of Applied Research Methods
- Applied Multivariate Modeling
- Advanced Research Methodologies
- Research Design in Health Informatics
Some online PhD in health informatics degree programs allow students to specialize in a specific area of health informatics. These specializations are desirable because they can give graduates with these degree distinctions an advantage in what is a fairly competitive field. Some health informatics specializations include:
- Public Health Informatics
- Health Systems Informatics
- Consumer Health/Patient Care Informatics
- Nanomedicine and Clinical Informatics
- Clinical Research Informatics
- Precision and Personalized Medicine Informatics
In addition to these specialization options, other online PhD in health informatics degree programs allow students to declare a minor in an area of emphasis.
Most online PhD information technology management/health informatics programs will also have some special requirements for graduation in addition to traditional coursework. This can include a residency, thesis, dissertation, and/or scholarly project. It is important to be aware of these special requirements before applying for an online doctorate health informatics program because they can require significant time and resources. For example, a doctoral residency could require that you attend meetings and clinicals on campus for a period of time while a dissertation or scholarly project will take hours upon hours of research. Note that residencies for some distance education offerings can be completed locally through an approved arrangement with the university.
Career Information for Graduates of Online Doctorate Health Informatics Degree Programs
Careers in health informatics are on the rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs in this field will increase by 15% by the year 2024. This is faster than average compared to all other occupations, meaning it's a good time to earn an online doctorate in health informatics. Many professionals who hold this credential typically work in leadership and management positions in healthcare. The BLS's most recent report indicates that health services managers, executives, and administrators earn a median annual wage of $96,540. Keep in mind though that this figure includes health services managers of all levels of education. Those holding doctoral degrees will be the biggest earners in the field. According to the BLS, the top 10% of healthcare managers make nearly $175,000 a year. Any way you look at it, the decision to pursue an online PhD in health informatics degree has the potential to be a very lucrative one.
Other graduates of online doctorate health informatics programs may work as consultants, researchers, or educators in the field of health informatics. These professionals contribute to the field of information technology management and health informatics by conducting important studies and training others in informatics methods and policies.
Requirements for Admissions into Online Doctorate Health Informatics Programs
Requirements for admission into online doctorate in health informatics programs can vary, but there is plenty of overlap, so it's possible to get a general idea of what to expect before choosing a specific program. Most of these online PhD in information technology management/health informatics offerings will require that you hold at least a master's degree in healthcare informatics or a related field from an accredited institution prior to applying for admission. Related fields may include areas of healthcare such as medicine, nursing, public health, or pharmacy as well as certain majors in business, computer science, and engineering. You may find the rare program that will only require a bachelor's degree in informatics that allows you to earn your master's degree on the way to earning your doctorate in health informatics, but this isn't typical. Some schools may have additional requirements for admission as well such as minimum scores on qualifying entrance exams. For instance, online doctorate in health informatics programs often requires additional documentation as well, such as an application, letters of recommendation, and transcripts from previous schools, for example. You may also be required to write an essay or personal statement explaining why you wish to pursue an online PhD in information technology management/health informatics.
As the field of health informatics continues to grow, you can expect to see more colleges and universities offer degrees in informatics, including online PhD health informatics degrees. As the distance education options in this academic discipline expand, we'll update this ranking with the most relevant offerings.
Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQs) About Online Doctorate in Health Informatics Programs
Can I complete my online PhD in health informatics degree entirely online?
Maybe. While some online doctorate health informatics programs can be completed 100% online, some may require campus visits for orientations, clinicals, or residencies. Check with the school you're interested in attending for more information about attendance specifications.
How quickly can I complete my online doctorate in health informatics program?
It depends. Many online doctorate in information technology/health informatics programs will allow you to complete your coursework at your own pace, on a part-time or full-time basis, so you will likely have a great deal of control over how soon you complete your degree. Full-time students may finish in as few as two or three years whereas part-time students may take up to ten years to earn their degrees.
How much will it cost to earn my online doctorate in health informatics?
The cost for online PhD information technology management/health informatics programs can vary significantly. They can cost as little as $5,000 to more than $20,000, but most fall somewhere in between.
Is an online doctorate in health informatics equal to a traditional doctorate in health informatics?
For the most part, yes. Many of the online doctorate health informatics programs available—including those in this ranking—have both online and on-campus formats. Some of them are even taught by the same faculty members, and the content is almost identical most of the time. More likely than not, your employers will never know that you completed your degree online—unless you tell them, that is!