Medical Records Training Schools & Degree Programs

Medical records and health information technicians play an important role in the medical delivery to patients. These professionals are tasked with assembling the medical record of the patient. The medical record can consist of the patient’s medical history, diagnostic tests, examination results, healthcare provider services, and treatment methods.

The role of medical record and health information technicians is to manage and organize health information. The information must be managed in a way that ensures its accuracy, accessibility, quality, and security. These professionals work with other healthcare professionals to make sure that the information is accurate and up to date.

Medical Records Technician Schools By State

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Nature of the Work

Electronic Health Records is changing the way medical records are handled. This new technology broadens the scope of the medical records and health information technician’s job. In addition, it alters the way the job is done. Now, these professionals must be familiar with EHR software. Professionals must be able to analyze the data and maintain the security of the information. EHR software is used by these professionals to maintain information on patterns of disease, patient safety procedures, and the outcome of disease treatment. Oftentimes, technicians can contribute to improving the EHR software by offering their suggestions and input.

Furthermore, medical records and health information technicians can hold a number of jobs in the field. The responsibilities and duties vary according to the job title. Some technicians specialize in coding medical records. These professionals are known as coders; the coders are responsible for making sure that the insurance companies are properly billed for medical services rendered.

Other medical technicians may specialize in medical transcription. These people play an important role in the medical record process. The medical transcriptionist listens to dictation from the physician, and this professional then transcribes this information into an electronic document. This position is highly skilled and requires excellent knowledge of medical terminology and medical procedures. The medical transcriptionist actually prepares the written record that the medical coder uses to bill the insurance company.

Additionally, some medical information technicians specialize in cancer registry. These professionals are responsible for tracking the treatment and progress of cancer patients in the registry. These professionals must review the medical records, and then they must assign codes based on treatments and services rendered.

Work Environment

Medical records and information technicians are not required to have any patient contact. Most of these professionals work in a clean, quiet office environment. They will usually have an office or cubicle. The space is complete with a computer, phone, and other office equipment. They usually have access to other office equipment.
The typical 40 hour work week is standard. In some cases, overtime will be necessary, but this is not the norm. There can be rotating shifts depending on the job.

Training, Qualifications, and Advancement

The Registered Health Information Technician credential is favored by employers. However, it is not mandatory. Those that have training in medical information and records also have a good chance of securing a job. The majority of people in this field have an associate degree. During coursework in college, medical terminology, pharmacology, physiology, anatomy, and medical business procedures are classes that prepare the future medical information technician. It is advisable to take math, science, anatomy, and computer courses to improve your success in a medical record and information technology program.

Again, employers tend to prefer those with certification, so it is advisable to get certified. There are a number of organizations that offer credentialing in the field. The American Health Information Management Association offers a RHIT credential. The requirements for the RHIT certification include the following: graduation from a two year program accredited by(CAHIIM), and successful completion of an AHIMA exam.

Successful medical information technicians should have excellent written and verbal communication skills. Oftentimes, they must serve as liaisons between the insurance company, medical facility, and other agencies. Candidates that have excellent computer skills will be in high demand. The EHR requirements make it necessary for employers to hire skilled people in computer software programs.

Employment

Statistics indicate that medical records and information technicians held more than 172,000 jobs in 2008. Many of these jobs were in hospitals. In fact, 39% of these jobs were in hospitals. These professionals can be employed in a number of settings. For example, nursing homes, doctor offices, clinics, ambulatory settings, and federal government settings are all likely places for this profession.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for medical records and information technicians is good. This career field is expected to have high growth due to changes in patient medical records. Those with excellent computer skills will have good prospects of getting a job in the field. Many vacancies will result from the Electronic Health Record. It will take numerous people to get this system running smoothly and efficiently.*

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

Earnings

The yearly salaries of medical record technicians are good. For example, the median salary in 2008 was just over $30,000. Studies showed that the middle range of people in this field earned between $26,000 to $39,000 per year. The absolute lowest earners in the group made just over $20,000 per year, while the highest earners made more than $50,000 per year.*

*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/

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