I am delighted that you are interested in our Medical and Bioinformatics program at Grand Valley State University.
Biomedical informatics is currently very much in demand. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) was enacted in 2009. Under the HITECH Act, the Department of Health and Human Services is spending $25.9 billion to promote and expand the adoption of health information technology. Therefore, there is an increasing need for a larger and better trained workforce in medical informatics. The American Medical Informatics Association created the 10x10 program is to educate 10,000 clinicians in medical informatics by the year 2010 (the estimated need for the US). The goal of the AMIA 10x10 program has been further validated by Dr. David Blumenthal, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, who has estimated a need for an additional 50,000 individuals trained to meet President Barack Obama's goal of all Americans having their medical records in electronic format by 2014. The program then was expanded to non-clinicians as well, but only a small fraction of the original estimated number has ben actually educated. Thus, there is still a enormous need in the field.
One of the challenges besides putting Electronic Health Records (EHRs) into place for "meaningful use" is making use of all the data collected ("Big Data Analytics"). This is why two foci of our program are EHR and Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining.
Bioinformaticists typically work in a research lab for data analysis and programming, like Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids. They need a strong programming background and bioinformatics students with life science background typically pick that skill up during their graduate coursework within the two years of study (see recommended schedules).
With best wishes,
Guenter Tusch, PhD
Chair, Medical and Bioinformatics PSM Program