Choosing between a master’s in health informatics and a master’s in biomedical diagnostics

July 07, 2020 · 7 min read · By ASU Online

Modern health care operations rely on technology. This includes electronic health record keeping and biomedical diagnostic studies. Medical technology also creates new approaches for screening, treatment and more. Professionals who develop and manage these tools are becoming increasingly valuable in the health care market.


Health care professions are expected to see impressive growth in the coming years. Health informatics and biomedical diagnostics specialists are no exception. Demand for both roles is expected to increase by 11% between 2018 and 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Health care professionals who want to advance in the field and help technology spread have two exciting options:

These degrees can give you the expertise to earn roles that require advanced technical and scientific knowledge. Possible career outcomes include clinical and laboratory positions.

Deciding which path is right for you? Comparing the coursework and career outcomes for each program is a good place to start.

The similarities of a master’s in health informatics and a master’s in biomedical diagnostics

Both degrees explore technology’s role in modern treatment development and delivery. They also help students gain the expertise to take advantage of the latest informatics and biomedical innovations. A master’s in health informatics degree often covers:

  • Relevant trends in the field.
  • Database management.
  • Workflow analysis design.
  • Clinical Informatics and Decision Support Systems
  • Population health analytics.

A master’s in biomedical diagnostics covers similar subjects, as well as the following:

  • Regulatory systems
  • Health economics
  • Key technologies and their implementation

A Master’s in Health Informatics examines payment and reimbursement of care. A master’s in biomedical diagnostics explores the business of diagnostics.

The differences between health informatics and biomedical degrees

The programs differ in terms of industry technological and financial environments. Each degree offers a unique learning experience.

A master’s degree in health informatics educates students about the technology that makes modern clinical operations possible. Students pursuing this degree typically study high-level computer science concepts like:

  • Data modeling.
  • IT infrastructure design.

A master’s in health informatics degree might also address broader, yet relevant skills:

  • Clinical support.
  • Leadership.
  • Data Analysis .

Students pursuing a graduate degree in health informatics normally also complete applied project capstones. These projects include collaborations with active informatics professionals on real-world initiatives.

An master’s in biomedical diagnostics typically addresses four core tenets:

  • Technology: Students explore topics such as assaycreation, biomedical engineering and diagnostic product development and implementation.
  • Science: Students focus on:
    • Bioinformatics.
    • Biostatistical analysis.
    • Clinical trial design.
    • Regulatory systems.
    • Technology for imaging, pathology and molecular and immunology testing platforms.  
  • Business: Students address public and private health care finance and reimbursement, precision medical health care delivery and companion diagnostics.  
  • Application: Students unpack case studies on diagnostic-related issues, such as bioethics, intellectual property, smart solutions, modality integration and system analysis.

A master’s in biomedical diagnostics degree also normally ends with an applied project capstone. This capstone allows students to apply their knowledge to actual health care initiatives. They receive guidance from externalbiomedical professionals throughout the effort.

Pinpointing potential careers

These degree tracks appear to offer powerful career-building benefits. You might still ask yourself:

  • What can I do with a master’s in health informatics?
  • Is biomedical science a good career field?

The answer to these questions is a resounding yes.

Both a health informatics degree and a biomedical diagnostics degree give you access to opportunities across multiple health care specialties. From IT infrastructure oversight to research and development support, you can qualify for a variety of roles with these credentials.

Most of the careers associated with a master’s in health informatics degree center on core IT system management. These include:

  • Electronic health system analyst: Electronic health record (EHR) system analysts manage the IT architecture that supports digital patient information collection, storage and sharing. They use technical knowledge and legal awareness to balance the security of EHRs with the need for authorized users, like doctors and nurses, to access them. EHR system analysts also have a hand in billing and reimbursement. They ensure that all patient information is accurate and ready for coding.
    • The concept of health care informatics evolved with EHR technology. Providers rushed to grow their IT infrastructure and adopt the digital record keeping tool due to federal government rules. The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 led to this action, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    • EHR use increased from 12% in 2009 to 96% in 2017. Hiring for health care informatics positions also increased, per the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The EHR system analyst role came about as a way to increase compliance with government rules. It remains essential today.
  • Medical data scientist: Data scientists with Master of Science in health informatics degrees navigate industry-specific software and assemble fragmented data into digestible formats. They create the statistical basis for new treatments and population health initiatives. They also handle smaller projects used to boost clinical decision-making.
    • Technology drives health care innovation. Organizations actively seek out talented technical experts who can use data to develop techniques and tools that produce better patient outcomes. Many providers compete with startups in Silicon Valley to attract these specialists, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
  • Quality analytics manager: Quality analytics managers use their technical expertise to ensure that essential backend reporting infrastructure functions properly. They also work to make lead data formatting and submission efforts accurate and effective. These professionals focus on the growing need to prioritize quality of care as a core metric in health care.
    • The patient-driven reimbursement model rewards providers for positive outcomes as opposed to service delivery volume. This model has forced health care groups to re-emphasize quality. Monitoring patient outcomes and preparing this information for submission to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other parties is now a top priority.

The careers linked to a master’s in biomedical diagnostics degree are very diverse. They include:

  • Research and development support specialist: Medical device makers, pharmaceutical companies and other organizations focus on developing new treatments in an effort to dominate the biomedical marketplace. Countless health care professionals help drive the research and development efforts that produce such vital work. That includes R&D support specialists. These individuals typically use their expertise to support product development, particularly related to instrument creation.
  • Clinical laboratory manager: Clinical laboratories handle fluid and tissue testing operations. This process helps physicians create patient treatment strategies. Many health care specialists work in such environments. Managers play a key role in these efforts. They use the knowledge from a master’s in biomedical diagnostics to oversee scientists and operations. Professionals in these roles also develop procedures to ensure lab work is completed as necessary. The demand for these staff members has risen significantly in recent years due to growth in the elderly population, according to the BLS. As more older Americans develop serious conditions such as diabetes and cancer, clinical lab work multiplies. With it comes the rising demand for clinical laboratory managers.
  • Business development professional: Treatment development is big business. Medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical firms seek to create products that improve patient outcomes and generate revenue. Business development professionals with biomedical diagnostic expertise help these and other organizations strike this balance. They do this by offering operational insight that lays the groundwork for treatments that are:
    • Accessible.
    • Effective
    • Profitable.

Getting started with ASU Online

ASU Online offers Master of Advanced Study in health informatics and Master of Science in biomedical diagnostics degrees.

The online degree in biomedical diagnostics program covers topics such as:

  • Biomedical informatics.
  • Current perspectives in biomedical diagnostics.
  • Health care economics.
  • Policy and payment models.
  • Diagnostic technology.
  • Regulatory systems

The master’s in biomedical diagnostics degree concludes with an applied research project.

The online graduate degree in health informatics program addresses:

  • Population health management and data analysis.
  • Database modeling and application use.
  • Health system engineering.
  • Clinical decision support.
  • Leadership and clinical management.

The master’s in health informatics also concludes with an applied research project.

The ASU Online Master of Science in biomedical diagnostics and Master of Advanced Study in health informatics degrees can help you prepare for a career in today’s technology-driven health care environment. Technology’s role in managing and providing care continues to grow in importance. These programs equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to compete in this growing sector.



ASU Online – Online Master of Science in Biomedical Diagnostics
ASU Online – Online Master of Advanced Study in Health Informatics
Worldwide Semiannual ICT Spending Guide by the International Data Corporation
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians by the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Biomedical Engineer by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Meaningful Use by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Non-Federal Acute Care Hospital EHR Adoption by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
Health Care Data Scientist Qualifications, Skills and Job Focus by the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

A biomedical diagnostics specialist works with a cross-functional team.
Health informatics professionals review patient medical data.


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