About this Course

This class is offered as CS6440 at Georgia Tech where it is a part of the Online Masters Degree (OMS). Taking this course here will not earn credit towards the OMS degree.

This is a survey course designed to provide a broad, forward-facing overview of contemporary health informatics, a specialized field of computing that seeks to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery. To understand health informatics (HIT) you also need to have at least a basic understanding of the complex and highly regulated US healthcare industry. The course is designed for students from diverse backgrounds and who have not been previously exposed to HIT. It is divided into three sections:

The US healthcare delivery and the key role of the federal government in promoting HIT adoption

The core technologies that drive all contemporary HIT systems and tools

The real world applications of HIT from electronic medical and personal health records to exploiting digital data aggregated from them for research and other purposes

Course Cost
Approx. 5 weeks
Skill Level
Included in Product

Rich Learning Content

Interactive Quizzes

Taught by Industry Pros

Self-Paced Learning

Student Support Community

Join the Path to Greatness

This course is your first step towards a new career with the Artificial Intelligence Program.

Free Course

Health Informatics in the Cloud

byGeorgia Institute of Technology

Enhance your skill set and boost your hirability through innovative, independent learning.

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Course Leads

Mark Braunstein

Mark Braunstein


Matthew Cook

Matthew Cook


What You Will Learn

lesson 1

The US Healthcare System

  • Key problems
  • Specific challenges presented by chronic disease
  • Major disconnect between the health system’s capabilities and the demands of chronic disease management
  • The hope that a combination of new incentives, health IT adoption, and new models of care can bridge this disconnect leading to a more efficient, effective, safer and more patient-centered US system of care
lesson 2

Federal Policies & Initiatives

  • The important details of the specific programs that the federal government has put into place to spur health IT adoption by eligible providers and hospitals
  • The role played by financial incentives that reward performance, rather than the quantity of procedures
lesson 3

Health Information Exchange

  • The rationale for and the major challenges of health information exchange (HIE)
  • Various ways of classifying HIE
  • How to differentiate the various HIE architectures
  • Indiana Health Information Exchange as a premier example including descriptions of its key services
  • New approaches and technologies with a particular emphasis on Direct HIE, a new technology based on secure email and encrypted attachments
lesson 4

Privacy, Security and Trust

  • Key issues of privacy, security, and trust in a world of digital records and health information exchange
  • The key role that patient engagement plays in chronic disease prevention and management
  • Concerns patients have about sharing their health data
  • Various privacy consent models
  • Data segmentation as a key challenge for obtaining patient consent under what may be the most acceptable model
  • Concept of public key infrastructure (PKI) including the roles of the public key, private key, registration authority and certificate authority
lesson 5

Data Standards

  • Rationale for standards and the evolutions that have been taking place in their use, technology and structure
  • Difference between a classification and an ontology
  • Key data standards (including ICD, CPT, LOINC and SNOMED)
  • Differences between standards based on EDI/X12 and XML
lesson 6

Interoperability Standards

  • How data is transmitted within messages using HL7 and packaged into CCDA-based clinical documents for sharing via HIE
  • Clinical decision support (CDS, an important technology for the future) and the key elements of and remaining challenges with standards to support CDS
  • Next generation approaches based on web technologies
lesson 7

Clinical Data Collection and Visualization Challenges

  • Key roles that data plays in medical practice
  • Root causes of common data quality issues in general
  • Specific root causes of data quality issues with respect to electronic health records
  • Challenges of efficiently and accurately collecting high quality, comprehensive clinical data from physicians
  • Challenges of visualizing digital health data in a way that supports the provider’s mental model
  • Key roles that information technology plays in the future vision of healthcare
lesson 8

Empowering the Patient

  • The key role that support for patients can play to achieve behavior change, adhere to prescribed treatments and generate data to help providers more continuously manage chronic diseases
  • Patient interests
  • Information technology tools now available to patients including patient health records, portals, social networking, in home technologies and mobile devices and sensors
  • Personal health records and their potential as app platforms
  • Social networking in patient education and care management
  • Various telemedicine modalities being developed and offered for use by patients at home
lesson 9

Population Health Management

  • Difference between individual patient management, population management and public health
  • Technologies for aggregating data
  • The kinds of data that are collected
  • The kinds of reports that are required for population and public health management
lesson 10

Data Query in a Federated Environment

  • Challenges of data query and aggregation in an environment where care providers are using disparate and non-interoperable EHRs
  • Differences among the distributed query technologies
  • Distributed query standards
  • Various open source query frameworks
lesson 11

Big Data Meets Healthcare

  • The concept of “big data”
  • Common technical approaches to modeling and simulation and the common applications of each
  • Specific case studies of analytic applications to healthcare problems as diverse as improved clinical decision support, understanding clinical processes, modeling care spaces and providing optimal patient-specific treatments

Prerequisites and Requirements

The course is self-contained so there are no academic prerequisites. A knowledge of web programming (e.g. Java, Javascript, C++, C#) is required by at least some members of each team to do the team project.

See the Technology Requirements for using Udacity.

Why Take This Course

Healthcare is the largest industry in the US. Spurred by new federal programs and incentives, the adoption of health IT is growing very rapidly, leading to many new career and entrepreneurial opportunities. The increasing use of modern web, mobile and sensor technologies in health informatics is also growing rapidly and is leading to many new and innovative approaches. Students who are trained and well-qualified in this field are in great demand.

What do I get?
Instructor videosLearn by doing exercisesTaught by industry professionals