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Joint Programs

The PharmD / MSHI Joint Degree Program


This joint degree program integrates Pharmacy Science and clinical practice with health informatics, the goal being identification, collection, processing and management of information to support pharmacy practice, administration, education and research. It promotes the expansion of pharmacy knowledge and leadership and is an important new dimension of pharmacy practice. Students in this joint program learn to identify the social issues that inhibit the effective use of information technology in health care and to apply creative solutions that address these issues.

Given the role of the pharmacist in a rapidly changing, competitive health care system, with its focus on improving patient safety through implementation of the electronic health record, there is an increasing need for pharmacists with both technological and administrative skills. Combining the patient care expertise of a pharmacist with the knowledge of health information technology is a powerful way to ensure the pharmacist's perspective on patient care is considered in technology debates and decisions. The voice of the pharmacist is vital when working with system developers, discussing system features, selecting the appropriate clinical functionality required for patient care, customizing vendor software for specific patient populations or care settings, and enhancing collaboration related to technology issues with other members of the health care team. More pharmacists are needed with specialized informatics knowledge to standardize computerized documentation; improve communication; enhance the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of patient care; develop and disseminate new knowledge; and advance both the science of pharmacy and informatics.

Program of Study

To be admitted to the joint program, a student must meet the admissions criteria of each individual degree program. Similarly, a student must meet the degree requirements of each program in order to graduate. The program of study may be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

Students are considered for admission to the PharmD program with a minimum of 61 hours of accrued undergraduate credit; however the MS in HI requires an earned bachelor's degree. In the increasingly minority case in which the students apply to the PharmD program without having earned a degree at the baccalaureate level (i.e., with only 61 accrued hours), the attached sample course planner shows the proposed sequence of coursework that meets the intent of the previously earned bachelors degree admissions requirement for the MS. Students will be permitted to take BHIS 460, available to upper level undergraduate students, in the fall of their second year in the PharmD curriculum. They will be accepted to the MS in HI the spring of their second year, at the point in the PharmD curriculum in which they will have accrued 128 credit hours—a baccalaureate equivalent. The MS in HI degree will not be awarded prior to the awarding of the PharmD degree.

In the true sense of a joint degree program, only one thesis or project will be required with the student drawing from both pharmacy and health informatics faculty. Students in the joint program will have two advisors, one from the pharmacy faculty in the College of Pharmacy and one from biomedical and health information sciences in the College of Applied Health Sciences . Students may withdraw from the joint program and transfer to one of the two-degree programs.

The degree requirements include the following:

•  The coursework will consist of core coursework and specialty coursework from each of the degrees.

•  Core Courses in Pharmacy – Phar 331,321,341,332,322,400,342,333,323,401-408, 352-354, 324,343,355,344, 346,345,365,356 and PhyB 301, 302

•  Clerkship Courses in Pharmacy (7 clerkships, one being BHIS 580)

•  Elective Courses in Pharmacy (12 CH electives in BHIS)

•  Core Courses in Health Informatics – BHIS 437, 500, 510, 511, 525, 537, 580, BHIS 597 or 598

•  Elective Courses in Health Informatics – BHIS 515, 520

Sample Planning Guide

For more information on the MS Health Informatics