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Become A Medical Records Technician

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Working As A Medical Records Technician

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

  • Repetitive

  • $35,960

    Average Salary

What Does A Medical Records 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 Medical Records 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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Medical Records Technician Jobs

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Medical Records Technician Career Paths

Medical Records Technician
Patient Service Representative Billing Specialist Accounts Receivable Specialist
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Patient Service Representative Patient Care Coordinator Nursing Director
Administrative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Technician Delivery Driver Night Auditor
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Medical Transcriptionist Quality Assurance Program Manager
Board Member
6 Yearsyrs
Data Entry Clerk Billing Specialist
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Case Manager
Career Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Medical Coder Adjunct Instructor Adjunct Professor
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Registered Nurse Staff Nurse
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technician Phlebotomist Collections Specialist
Collections Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Specialist Systems Administrator Director Of Information
Director Of Information Management
10 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Business Manager Contracts Manager
Government Contractor
8 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Assistant Bookkeeper Medical Records Clerk
Health Information Management Director
6 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Assistant Accounts Receivable Specialist Medical Coder
Health Information Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Specialist Operations Manager Business Manager
Practice Administrator
10 Yearsyrs
Data Entry Clerk Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Patient Access Representative Information Specialist Information Manager
Records Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Health Information Technician Medical Coder Adjunct Instructor
Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Medical Coder Auditor Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Medical Transcriptionist Registered Nurse Case Manager
Utilization Review Nurse
10 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Medical Records Technician?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Records Custodian 2.8 years
Medical Clerk 2.5 years
Medical Auditor 2.5 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 6.4%
Internship 3.8%
Secretary 2.7%
Teller 2.1%
Clerk 2.0%
Top Employers After
Cashier 5.4%
Internship 2.8%
Manager 2.6%

Do you work as a Medical Records Technician?

Medical Records Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

79.6%

Male

18.4%

Unknown

2.0%
Ethnicity

White

60.4%

Hispanic or Latino

16.8%

Black or African American

12.0%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

3.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

68.8%

French

7.2%

Tagalog

4.0%

Portuguese

2.4%

German

1.6%

Gujarati

1.6%

Carrier

1.6%

Hindi

1.6%

Russian

1.6%

Navajo

1.6%

Italian

1.6%

Swedish

0.8%

Somali

0.8%

Chinese

0.8%

Mandarin

0.8%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Dakota

0.8%

Samoan

0.8%

Polish

0.8%
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Medical Records Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

20.3%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

14.0%

Kaplan University

6.9%

Strayer University

5.6%

Liberty University

4.8%

Ashford University

4.6%

American InterContinental University

4.1%

Rasmussen College

3.8%

Northern Virginia Community College

3.8%

Everest Institute

3.6%

Santa Barbara City College

3.6%

University of Maryland - University College

3.3%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.3%

Colorado Technical University

3.0%

Prince George's Community College

2.8%

East Los Angeles College

2.8%

Grand Canyon University

2.8%

Community College of the Air Force

2.5%

Trident Technical College

2.3%

Capella University

2.3%
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Majors

Health Care Administration

28.6%

Business

15.3%

Computer Information Systems

7.3%

Medical Assisting Services

7.1%

Nursing

5.9%

Criminal Justice

3.5%

Psychology

3.4%

General Studies

3.2%

Information Technology

3.0%

Management

2.8%

Accounting

2.8%

Medical Technician

2.5%

Education

2.2%

Biology

2.0%

Health Sciences And Services

1.9%

Computer Science

1.9%

Pharmacy

1.8%

Insurance

1.6%

Liberal Arts

1.6%

Human Resources Management

1.6%
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Degrees

Other

32.0%

Bachelors

23.3%

Associate

22.5%

Certificate

9.3%

Masters

7.6%

Diploma

4.3%

License

0.4%

Doctorate

0.4%
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Internship
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Real Medical Records Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Medical Records Technician Prestigious Home Health, Inc. Covina, CA Jul 02, 2015 $46,259
Medical Records Technician Lemar Home Health Services, Inc. Covina, CA Apr 07, 2010 $43,827
Medical Records & Health Info. Technicians Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA May 07, 2009 $42,000
Medical Records Technician Emelito Calderon DDS, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Mar 25, 2010 $40,258
Medical Records Technician Mission Home Health Services Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jul 10, 2016 $36,878
Medical Record Technician More Health, Inc. Foster City, CA Aug 02, 2016 $36,000
Medical Record Technician Infinite Care, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Feb 01, 2010 $35,000
Medical Records & Health Info Technicians Children's Hospital Boston, MA Dec 15, 2009 $34,778
Medical Records Technician Il SEON Kim, DDS, Inc. Irvine, CA Jan 16, 2009 $32,599
Medical Records Technician Farrokh Alemzadeh, M.D., Inc. Irvine, CA Apr 30, 2009 $31,472
Medical Records Technician Medcare Home Health Inc. Chicago, IL Apr 23, 2008 $29,800

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Top Skills for A Medical Records Technician

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  1. Medical Records
  2. Patient Charts
  3. Data Entry
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Apply superb attention to detail and analysis in order to ensure accuracy and confidentiality with all medical records.
  • Located, disassembled, scanned, and indexed patient charts into OncoEMR system; returned paper records to storage location.
  • Provide data entry by entering patient and contributor demographic information into the Pathology Information Management System, under a production-oriented environment.
  • Record Retrieval and Return: Provided authorized individuals with timely access to patient information without compromising the security of patient records.
  • Research dictated/transcribed reports and retrieve medical records information from physicians' offices/hospitals/insurance companies for admission/discharged dates.

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Top Medical Records Technician Employers

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