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Become A Health Information Technician

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Working As A Health Information Technician

  • Getting Information
  • Processing Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $44,530

    Average Salary

What Does A Health Information Technician Do

Medical records and health information technicians, commonly referred to as health information technicians, organize and manage health information data by ensuring that it maintains its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper files and electronic systems. They use various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories.

Duties

Health information technicians typically do the following:

  • Review patients’ records for timeliness, completeness, accuracy, and appropriateness of data
  • Organize and maintain data for clinical databases and registries
  • Track patient outcomes for quality assessment
  • Use classification software to assign clinical codes for reimbursement and data analysis 
  • Electronically record data for collection, storage, analysis, retrieval, and reporting
  • Maintain confidentiality of patients’ records

Health information technicians document patients’ health information, including their medical history, symptoms, examination and test results, treatments, and other information about healthcare services that are provided to patients. Their duties vary by employer and by the size of the facility in which they work.

Although health information technicians do not provide direct patient care, they work regularly with registered nurses and other healthcare professionals. They meet with these workers to clarify diagnoses or to get additional information to make sure that records are complete and accurate.

The increasing adaptation and use of electronic health records (EHRs) will continue to change the job responsibilities of health information technicians. Technicians will need to be familiar with, or be able to learn, EHR computer software, follow EHR security and privacy practices, and analyze electronic data to improve healthcare information, as more healthcare providers and hospitals adopt EHR systems.

Health information technicians can specialize in many aspects of health information. Some work as medical coders, sometimes called coding specialists, or as cancer registrars.

Medical coders typically do the following:

  • Review patient information for preexisting conditions, such as diabetes
  • Assign appropriate diagnoses and procedure codes for patient care, population health statistics, and billing purposes
  • Work as a liaison between the health clinician and billing offices

Cancer registrars typically do the following:

  • Review patients’ records and pathology reports to verify completeness and accuracy
  • Assign classification codes to represent the diagnosis and treatment of cancers and benign tumors
  • Conduct annual followups to track treatment, survival, and recovery
  • Compile and analyze cancer patient information for research purposes
  • Maintain facility, regional, and national databases of cancer patients

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How To Become A Health Information Technician

Health information technicians typically need a postsecondary certificate to enter the occupation, although some may need an associate’s degree. Certification is often required.

Education

Postsecondary certificate and associate’s degree programs in health information technology typically include courses in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, health data requirements and standards, classification and coding systems, healthcare reimbursement methods, healthcare statistics, and computer systems. Applicants to health information technology programs may increase their chances of admission by taking high school courses in health, computer science, math, and biology.

A high school diploma or equivalent and previous experience in a healthcare setting are enough to qualify for some positions, but most jobs for health information technicians require postsecondary education.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Health information technicians must be able to understand and follow medical records and diagnoses, and then decide how best to code them in a patient’s medical records.

Detail oriented. Health information technicians must be accurate when recording and coding patient information.

Integrity. Health information technicians work with patient data that are required, by law, to be kept confidential. They must exercise caution and a strong sense of ethics when working with this information in order to protect patient confidentiality.

Interpersonal skills. Health information technicians need to be able to discuss patient information, discrepancies, and data requirements with other professionals such as physicians and finance personnel.

Technical skills. Health information technicians must be able to use coding and classification software and the electronic health record (EHR) system that their healthcare organization or physician practice has adopted.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most employers prefer to hire health information technicians who have certification, or they may expect applicants to earn certification shortly after being hired. A health information technician can earn certification from several organizations. Certifications include the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR), among others.

Some organizations base certification on passing an exam. Others require graduation from an accredited program. Many coding certifications also require coding experience in a work setting. Once certified, technicians typically must renew their certification regularly and take continuing education courses.

A few states and facilities require cancer registrars to be licensed. Licensure requires the completion of a formal education program and the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) certification.

Advancement

Health information technicians may advance to other health information positions by receiving additional education and certifications. Technicians may be able to advance to a position as a medical or health services manager after completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree program and taking the required certification courses. Requirements vary by facility.

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Health Information Technician jobs

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Health Information Technician Career Paths

Health Information Technician
Health Information Specialist Billing Specialist Accounts Receivable Specialist
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Patient Service Representative Patient Care Coordinator Nursing Director
Administrative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Specialist Account Manager Billing Specialist
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Nurse Case Manager
Career Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Specialist Case Manager Therapist
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Health Information Management Director Billing Specialist Collector
Collections Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Data Entry Associate Accounts Receivable Specialist Medical Coder
Director Of Information Management
10 Yearsyrs
Accounts Payable Clerk Business Manager Contracts Manager
Government Contractor
8 Yearsyrs
Data Entry Associate Auditor Medical Records Clerk
Health Information Management Director
6 Yearsyrs
Licensed Practical Nurse Physician Medical Coder
Health Information Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Medical Coder Adjunct Instructor Assistant Professor
Medical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Patient Access Representative Accounts Receivable Specialist Business Manager
Practice Administrator
10 Yearsyrs
Patient Access Representative Registered Nurse Clinical Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Health Information Specialist Medical Coder Adjunct Instructor
Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Medical Coder Auditor Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Patient Service Representative Patient Access Representative Registered Nurse
Utilization Review Nurse
10 Yearsyrs
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Health Information Technician Demographics

Gender

  • Female

    77.8%
  • Male

    20.0%
  • Unknown

    2.2%

Ethnicity

  • White

    77.3%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    12.6%
  • Asian

    7.7%
  • Unknown

    1.7%
  • Black or African American

    0.7%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    55.1%
  • French

    7.7%
  • Vietnamese

    5.1%
  • Hindi

    2.6%
  • Mandarin

    2.6%
  • Tagalog

    2.6%
  • Portuguese

    2.6%
  • German

    2.6%
  • Cantonese

    2.6%
  • Urdu

    2.6%
  • Arabic

    2.6%
  • Swedish

    1.3%
  • Hmong

    1.3%
  • Korean

    1.3%
  • Danish

    1.3%
  • Khmer

    1.3%
  • Malay

    1.3%
  • Norwegian

    1.3%
  • Bengali

    1.3%
  • Russian

    1.3%
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Health Information Technician

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Health Information Technician Education

Health Information Technician

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Real Health Information Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Health Information Technology Exchange Project Man William Beaumont Hospital Troy, MI Feb 13, 2014 $107,000
Medical Records & Health Information Technician Kamal Ramani Internal Medicine PC New York, NY Sep 12, 2015 $53,227
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians California Sleep Solutions LLC Roseville, CA Jun 27, 2013 $49,000
Medical Records and Health Information Technician MacRo International Inc. Bethesda, MD Aug 18, 2008 $48,000
Medical Records & Health Information Technicians Jeffrey Buckner, Md New York, NY Feb 11, 2011 $47,861
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians Rodolfo Colaco, M.D. Elizabeth, NJ Nov 20, 2007 $44,975
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians PRI-Med Care, Pa Newark, NJ Sep 24, 2008 $41,970
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians Badru Inc. Lebanon, TN Apr 16, 2014 $40,747
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians Crosspark Medical, PLLC New York, NY Apr 07, 2010 $40,237
Client Health Information Technician More Health, Inc. San Mateo, CA Sep 06, 2015 $40,000
Medical Records and Health Information Technician Lifelink Health Providers, Inc. Glendora, CA Sep 21, 2012 $39,187
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians PRI-Med Care, Pa Verona, NJ Sep 16, 2008 $38,610
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians American Dental Offices, P.L.L.C Hicksville, NY Apr 13, 2010 $38,088
Medical Records and Health Information Technician DR. Eric K. Wood Goodlettsville, TN Sep 26, 2011 $36,272
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians Morning Star Residence, LLC San Francisco, CA Aug 12, 2013 $36,213
Medical Records and Health Information Technician Infinite Care, Inc. Southampton, PA Feb 17, 2009 $35,000
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians Stephen T. Ong, Md, CHT, DBA Md Medical Reseach Oxon Hill, MD May 08, 2009 $35,000
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians Smile Design Dental Clinic, LLC Germantown, MD Jul 08, 2008 $33,538
Health Information Technician Phoenix Home Health Nursing Services Inc. Phoenix, AZ Oct 01, 2011 $33,000
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians Pediatric Health Care Associates Peabody, MA Dec 18, 2009 $32,870
Medical Records and Health Information Technician Medwin Family Medicine and Rehab, PLLC Brownsville, TX Oct 01, 2013 $32,000
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians Tri-County Pulmonary & Multispecialty Group The Villages, FL Jan 24, 2011 $31,054
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians Randy D. Danan Los Angeles, CA Nov 10, 2009 $29,120
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians Martin J. Milne, Md, Pa Clearwater, FL Jan 21, 2009 $28,884
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians Golden State Lodge Lakeview, CA Nov 01, 2007 $28,175
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians Jobet Corp. DBA Dedicated Home Health Care Glendale, CA Aug 07, 2008 $27,674

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Top Skills for A Health Information Technician

ElectronicMedicalRecordsElectronicHealthRecordPatientRecordsCustomerServicePatientInformationHipaaDataEntryHealthcareProvidersPatientChartsHealthInformationManagementTechHippaHealthRecordIndexesMedicalInformationEmergencyMedicalChartsComputerSystemPatientCarePhoneCallsROIBirthCertificates

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Top Health Information Technician Skills

  1. Electronic Medical Records
  2. Electronic Health Record
  3. Patient Records
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Handled medical information requests from the public and professionals using electronic medical records.
  • Performed quality assurance auditing for accuracy and timeliness of document imaging/scanning and indexing of electronic health record following standards and criteria.
  • Ensured that all patient records and loose documents were scanned into the Horizon Patient Folder with the highest level of quality.
  • Ensured chart completeness and accuracy as well as maintain customer service satisfaction.
  • Worked directly with medical staff in obtaining specific patient information.

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Health Information Technician Jobs on the Rise

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