The online courses you need to take now to understand digital health

Digital Health is one of the fastest growing industries in our economy, with three out of four healthcare providers polled in July’s inaugural HIMSS Analytics Workforce Survey planning to hire IT professionals within the next year. Despite this potential, 43 percent of providers and 56 percent of vendors said that a lack of qualified talent was their biggest challenge to staffing their environment. That’s where this guide comes in.

Whether you’re a professional looking to learn more or a university student without the option of a digital health major (yet), we’ve compiled a list of the top online courses and talks you should tune into to create your own deep-dive into the world of digital health. We’re sure you’ll learn a thing or two thanks to these handy online learning tools.

And now for your schedule.

Health Informatics in the Cloud

Host institution: Georgia Institute of Technology via Coursera

  • Logistics: This 10-week-long course has no prerequisites and is open to participants without any technical background. Expect five to seven hours per week of short video lectures and reading.

  • At a glance: This course first provides students with an overview of the US healthcare system’s structural, economic, and policy issues that lend themselves to a strategic role for health informatics. Subsequent weeks focus on how various health informatics technologies are currently being used in successful commercial and open source products, looking at electronic medical records and health information exchange systems as examples. Bonus–complete this course and you’ll get a verified certificate from Georgia Institute of Technology and Coursera!

  • Mobile Health Without Borders

    Host institution: Stanford Online

  • Logistics: This free seven-week course includes video lectures, online discussions, and four assignments; three of which are completed in teams that are hand selected to include participants of complementary skillsets. There are no prerequisites, just bring your interest in technological solutions to global health challenges!

  • At a glance: Mobile health is without borders in more ways than one. We are constantly reminded of how interconnected today’s world is through the spread of infectious disease, the global burden of chronic disease, and the dissemination of information via the internet and other communication networks. This course challenges participants to tackle these global health problems in multi-disciplinary teams, making this learning experience more interactive and participatory than your typical online lecture series. In addition to video lectures, and online discussions, you’ll have the chance to take part in a simulated Health Innovation Challenge.

  • Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship

    Host institution: Duke University via Coursera

  • Logistics: Students should have an appreciation for healthcare but otherwise there are no prerequisites. Watch this six-week class in 10-15 minute video installments and expect five to seven hours of work per week.

  • At a glance: Get ready to debunk the notion that success in innovation and entrepreneurship is tied solely to new ideas, products, and services. Instructors with backgrounds in biomedical engineering and nursing take participants through the process of sustainable healthcare innovation from conception, with granular lessons on the vocabulary necessary to articulate healthcare problems; to constraints, including stakeholder, market, and competitor analysis; to designing and patenting for sales. This course targets medical professionals and business entrepreneurs who have some experience with medical devices but the themes are relevant to anyone with an interest in the digital health business development process.

  • Medicine’s future? There’s an app for that

    Host institution: Daniel Kraft, ED of FutureMed at Singularity University via TedED

  • Logistics: One free 18 minute video.

  • At a glance: Daniel Kraft’s 2011 talk runs through the future of digital healthcare at a quick clip. In this high-level outline Dr. Kraft discusses how technology is being applied to healthcare and medicine ranging from telemedicine to quantified self, providing specific companies as examples along the way with plenty of visuals. Tune into this TedTalk for a fast-paced summary of digital health’s scope and what we can expect from the field in years to come (hint: Dr. Kraft ensures that P4 medicine is right around the corner: care that is predictive, preventive, personalized, and participatory).

  • Understanding and Improving the US Healthcare System

    Host institution: University of Michigan via Coursera

  • Logistics: Each week will include one hour of teaching time broken into 8-15 minute video lectures, with three to four hours per week of reading, self-assessment, and assignments including some group work. There are no enrollment requirements.

  • At a glance: Led by physician and policy researcher, Matthew Davis, this course is designed to give its students the foundations they need to understand the US Healthcare System as patients, caregivers, and even healthcare professionals. Assignments are designed to apply lessons learned towards designing actionable strategies to improve policy and practice.

  • Data Analysis

    Host institution: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health via Coursera

  • Logistics: Students should have some familiarity with R statistical programming language ( This is an eight-week course with three to five hours of short video lectures and homework each week and two peer-graded assignments.

  • At a glance: As the digital health industry grows so do the number of executives in the industry who report serious staffing shortages. In a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, 62 percent of healthcare organizations expressed concern in a lack of qualified IT applications. This course will build up your ability to translate statistical findings into meaningful analysis and strategy. You’ll come away with the ability to assess which data can answer your question, identify what processes and patterns underlie that data, and communicate your findings for actionable impact.

  • Health Information Technology Standards and Systems Interoperability

    Host institution: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health via JHSPHOpen courseware

  • Logistics: Participants should be public health and medical professionals who oversee or advocate for information systems use in: “providing services;  developing, implementing and evaluating policies; and performing research.” Download the syllabus and navigate through five modules of lecture slides, MP3s, and readings at your own pace.

  • At a glance: Designed to provide health professionals with a foundation in health information technology (HIT) standards and standardization processes, this course focuses on the methods and tools necessary for HIT standardization users to design and evaluate integrated health data systems. At the end of this course not only will you feel comfortable with HIT standardization processes, you will be able to develop functional standards for specific information systems.

  • Rock Health Startup Elements

    Host institution: Rock Health

  • Logistics: Tune into videos on our site, or subscribe to have them delivered to your very own inbox!

  • At a glance: We’ve created a robust curriculum for the startups in our program, and now, it’s available to anyone. Our experts cover everything from IP and accounting to the FDA and HIPAA.

  • How to Develop Breakthrough Products and Services

    Host institution: MIT Open Courseware

  • Logistics: The original course, offered at MIT’s Sloan School of Management in Spring 2012, consisted of two 1.5 hour lectures per week for eight weeks. To audit this class online, download the syllabus for readings and video lectures by the course instructor.

  • At a glance: This MIT class boils the innovation process into ready-to-use idea generation strategies and breakthrough development methods. Although video from guest lecturers is not available online, the readings and video lectures that are available for free online are a tremendous resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the components of innovation and product development that can be applied to digital health.

  • Innovating in Health Care

    Host institution: HarvardX

  • Logistics: This course is offered in two formats: an open, online experience and a more intimate, self-assembled team format with built in peer evaluations. Expect six to twelve hours a week of work and be sure to check out the edX Demo video before you enroll to see how you would like to participate.

  • At a glance: Innovating in Health Care is an introduction to health care ventures for those with some familiarity with financial analysis and an interest in entrepreneurial opportunities in health technology, consulting, management, or investing. Interested participants without the required time or background can audit this course.

  • Still want more? Check out our digital health internship opportunities.

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