The aim of this study is to analyze the research trends of medical informatics over the last 12 years. A new method based on MeSH terms was proposed to identify emerging topics and trends of medical informatics research. Informetric methods and visualization technologies were applied to investigate research trends of medical informatics. The metric of perspective factor (PF) embedding MeSH terms was appropriately employed to assess the perspective quality for journals. The emerging MeSH terms have changed dramatically over the last 12 years, identifying two stages of medical informatics: the "medical imaging stage" and the "medical informatics stage". The focus of medical informatics has shifted from acquisition and storage of healthcare data by integrating computational, informational, cognitive and organizational sciences to semantic analysis for problem solving and clinical decision-making. About 30 core journals were determined by Bradford's Law in the last 3 years in this area. These journals, with high PF values, have relative high perspective quality and lead the trend of medical informatics.