New professional certificate helps health care professionals create healthier lives through data

woman on a computer surrounded by machines

Students in the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s new Clinical and Health Informatics certificate program will learn to use data to address the most pressing issues in health care today, such as health care inequities.

“A big part of informatics is using data to make things more equitable in health care,” says Jomol Mathew, director of the UW–Madison Clinical & Health Informatics Institute. “The first step is learning from the data and understanding where the disparities are.”

For example, looking at the clinical data in the context of geographical and census data will inform the social determinants of health. Medical centers can then use the information to make health care more equitable and accessible.

“The UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health and UW Health are at the forefront of social determinants research,” Mathew says. “This is just one example of how Clinical and Health Informatics can be used to improve clinical care.”

Growing field

There’s a growing demand for clinical and health informatics professionals. The 2019 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society survey found 61 percent job growth in the industry.

“Through implementation of electronic medical records over the last 10-20 years we have gotten better at gathering reliable data about our patients in an electronic format,” says Heidi Twedt, Clinical and Health Informatics academic director. “Now we are at the precipice of really using that data to improve the health of our people.”

Fully online, flexible

The UW–Madison Capstone Certificate in Clinical and Health Informatics (CHI) is a fully online program offered through UW–Madison’s Professional Degrees and Certificates. Housed in the School of Medicine and Public Health, the CHI program links research to practical improvements in human health.

The CHI certificate offers a flexible option for working professionals who are looking for additional skills and may not be ready to commit to master’s degree. However, this capstone certificate is stackable into the UW–Madison MS in Clinical and Health Informatics. Students can complete the fully online 12- credit certificate in three to four semesters.

With health information technology from all aspects of the care continuum, students will learn from world-renowned faculty to analyze data to develop better systems for providing efficient, high-quality care to patients. Coursework includes classes in population health, biomedical informatics, nursing, and health care operations management.

“Through our coursework, students gain knowledge from a breath of subjects including health and health care delivery, social and behavioral science and information science and technology,” says Twedt. “This knowledge is essential for the work of Clinical and Health Informatics, which focuses on development and use of health information systems to improve clinical care.”

For more information on this certificate, email coach@pdc.wisc.edu. Listen to this recorded webinar, Health Equity: Clinical and Health Informatics with Dr. Pandita from Hennepin Healthcare, to learn more about how health informatics can lead health equity forward.