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Biomedical Informatics Degree

Biomedical informatics is a field concerned with the ‘scientific study of the storage, sharing and optimal use of biological and medical information to improve problem solving and decision making at all levels of health care’.

There are a number of different career paths that may be pursued with a degree in biomedical informatics. Your career goals and aspirations will influence whether you decide to pursue a graduate or doctoral biomedical informatics degree in the field.



Full Sail University

Saint Leo University Online

  • Master of Science in Instructional Design

What is biomedical informatics?

Biomedical informatics is a field that is concerned with the storage and use of information in medicine, healthcare, medical education, and biomedical research. It explores the many techniques which may be used to determine the information needs of health-care professional and patients alike, asses current information practices in the medical field, and assist in molecular biology and genomic research. Biomedical informatics is also concerned with developing interventions using computer technology, and evaluating the impact of those interventions.  The ultimate aim of the field is to:


  • Enhance wellness by improving the use of informatics by health care providers and the health care system
  • Improve disease prevention techniques
  • Improve patient outcomes
  • Reduce the margin of medical error
  • Promote patient safety measures
  • Reduce mortality rates
  • Make healthcare more cost effective

There are four major research areas in the field of biomedical informatics:

  • Bioinformatics
  • Imaging informatics
  • Clinical informatics
  • Public health informatics

 


Did you know?

  • The term bioinformatics was first coined in 1978 to describe a specific aspect of medical informatics.
  • Homer R. Warner, one of the founding fathers of medical informatics in the United States founded an entire department devoted to medical informatics at the University of Utah in 1972. The University of Utah’s Department of Biomedical Informatics contributes a lot to the field of biomedical informatics.

Biomedical Informatics Degree Types

Masters in Biomedical Informatics

Master's degree programs in biomedical informatics are concerned with the practical methods of applying health information technology systems in hospitals and clinics and with medical schools, pharmaceutical companies and insurers. This will ultimately make healthcare more cost effective and accessible.
This program typically takes two years to complete.


Entry requirements:


Although the precise entry requirements are likely to vary by program, generally applicants must have/submit:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a health sciences major
  • Minimum GPA requirements are determined by individual programs
  • Letters of recommendation
  • CV or resume
  • Statement of purpose

Curriculum


Students can expect to complete formal coursework along with structured research exercises. Students are also required to complete a research project as part of the program.
Some of the courses which may be offered in this program include:

  • Introduction to Biomedical Informatics
  • Health Care Information Systems
  • Controlled Medical Terminology
  • Biomedical Modeling & Decision Making Systems
  • Visualization in Biomedical Sciences
  • Health Care Data Management
  • Introduction to Electronic Health Records
  • Clinical Problem Solving and Decision Making

Ph.D. in Biomedical Informatics

Doctoral programs in biomedical informatics are intended for those who wish to go into academia or research within the field. The program will teach students how to ‘develop, implement and evaluate informatics algorithms and technologies for improving health care delivery and management’.
This program typically takes three to five years to complete.

Entry requirements
Although the precise entry requirements are likely to vary by program, generally applicants must have/submit:

 

  • A master’s degree from an accredited institution with a health sciences major
  • Minimum GPA requirements are determined by individual programs
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • GRE scores
  • CV or resume

Curriculum


The curriculum of doctoral degree programs in this field are geared towards imparting the requisite knowledge and skills onto students in order to make them leaders in the field.   The degree is highly research intensive and may be tailored to a specific concentration area of your choosing. A thesis project must also be completed on an original piece of research.
Some of the courses which may be offered in this program include:

  • Human Genome: Mapping, Sequencing and Techniques
  • Computer Aided Drug Design
  • Medical Image Processing and Visualization
  • Health Information Systems Integration
  • Health Care Database Management Systems       

 

Job Prospects & Salary

 

With a degree in biomedical informatics, individuals have multiple career paths to choose from. These include:

  • Professor of biomedical informatics at a college or university
  • Research scientist for a university hospital, government agency or pharmaceutical company
  • Project managers
  • A chief medical officer or chief nursing officer at a hospital

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical scientists (which include biomedical informatics professionals) in 2012:

  • made an annual median salary of  $76,980
  • the top 10 percent of professionals in this field earned more than $146,650
  • The projected employment growth in this profession between the years 2012-22 is 13%. This is about as fast as the average rate of growth for other professions as well, which is 11%.

In summary


If you’re interested in a career in biomedical informatics, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Get your high school diploma and ensure that you take science, math, and computer studies courses.
  • Enroll in a bachelor’s program in health sciences or a related field.
  • Apply to a master’s degree program in biomedical informatics.
  • If you’re interested in a career in academia or research, then apply to a Ph.D. program in biomedical informatics.

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