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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

  • $38,000

    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 Career Paths

Medical Records Technician
Medical Coder Office Manager Owner
Co-Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Medical Coder Office Manager
Business Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Medical Coder Office Manager Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Team Leader Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Specialist Executive Assistant
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Team Leader Supervisor
Unit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Patient Service Representative Team Leader Director
Administrative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Patient Service Representative Licensed Practical Nurse Administrator
Business Office Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Patient Service Representative Accounts Receivable Specialist Accounts Receivable Supervisor
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Specialist Consultant Operations Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Specialist Administrator Business Office Manager
Business Office Director
8 Yearsyrs
Technician Lead Technician Information Technology Director
Director Of Information Management
10 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Senior Technician Specialist Director Of Social Services
Director Of Admissions And Marketing
7 Yearsyrs
Technician Administrator Business Office Manager
Medical Records Director
5 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Generalist Medical Technologist, Generalist
Medical Technologist Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Customer Service Supervisor Managing Supervisor
Health Information Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Clinic Registered Nurse Clinical Analyst
Medical Records Manager
5 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 3.6 years
Records Specialist 3.1 years
Medical Clerk 2.7 years
Top Careers Before Medical Records Technician
Cashier 8.0%
Internship 3.8%
Secretary 2.5%
Clerk 2.2%
File Clerk 1.8%
Top Careers After Medical Records Technician
Cashier 6.1%
Internship 2.8%
Secretary 2.4%
Manager 2.3%

Do you work as a Medical Records Technician?

Medical Records Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

71.9%

Male

16.9%

Unknown

11.2%
Ethnicity

White

60.1%

Hispanic or Latino

17.1%

Black or African American

12.2%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

71.9%

French

6.1%

German

3.1%

Tagalog

3.1%

Portuguese

2.0%

Russian

2.0%

Swedish

1.0%

Chinese

1.0%

Mandarin

1.0%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Gujarati

1.0%

Carrier

1.0%

Hindi

1.0%

Polish

1.0%

Italian

1.0%

Somali

0.5%

Dakota

0.5%

Samoan

0.5%

Arabic

0.5%

Navajo

0.5%
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Medical Records Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

25.7%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

13.1%

Kaplan University

8.4%

Everest Institute

4.8%

Strayer University

4.5%

Ashford University

4.3%

The Academy

3.8%

University of Maryland - University College

3.6%

Rasmussen College

3.5%

Liberty University

3.5%

American InterContinental University

3.1%

Colorado Technical University

2.7%

Houston Community College

2.6%

Baker College

2.6%

Northern Virginia Community College

2.5%

Prince George's Community College

2.3%

University of Central Florida

2.2%

Community College of the Air Force

2.2%

Walden University

2.2%

Santa Barbara City College

2.2%
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Majors

Health Care Administration

29.0%

Business

15.7%

Medical Assisting Services

9.2%

Computer Information Systems

6.5%

Nursing

6.1%

Psychology

3.7%

Criminal Justice

3.1%

General Studies

2.9%

Information Technology

2.9%

Management

2.7%

Accounting

2.5%

Medical Technician

2.3%

Biology

1.8%

Health Sciences And Services

1.8%

Insurance

1.8%

Education

1.6%

Pharmacy

1.6%

Computer Science

1.5%

Nursing Assistants

1.5%

Human Services

1.5%
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Degrees

Other

30.2%

Associate

23.7%

Bachelors

23.2%

Certificate

9.9%

Masters

7.2%

Diploma

5.0%

License

0.5%

Doctorate

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$38,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$25,000
Min 10%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Umpqua Indian Development
Highest Paying City
Miami, FL
Highest Paying State
New Jersey
Avg Experience Level
2.9 years
How much does a Medical Records Technician make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Medical Records Technician in the United States is $38,347 per year or $18 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $25,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $57,000.

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

  1. Medical Records
  2. Patient Care
  3. Hipaa
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Focus on accurately prepping, electronically organizing and /or analyzing outpatient medical records.
  • Planned, designed and coordinated a record information system appropriate for the evaluation of patient care utilization services.
  • Verified and gathered pertinent information for insurance audits while complying with HIPAA laws and maintaining patient confidentiality.
  • Provide clerical support for administration data entry, microfilm, processed copied medical records requests for patients physicians
  • Organized and evaluated patient records Ensured medical charts were complete Effectively communicated with health care professionals to ensure all records were accurate

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Top 10 Best States for Medical Records Technicians

  1. Connecticut
  2. Minnesota
  3. New Jersey
  4. North Dakota
  5. Alaska
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Wyoming
  8. Tennessee
  9. Oregon
  10. Wisconsin
  • (288 jobs)
  • (443 jobs)
  • (555 jobs)
  • (95 jobs)
  • (40 jobs)
  • (68 jobs)
  • (37 jobs)
  • (368 jobs)
  • (207 jobs)
  • (418 jobs)

Top Medical Records Technician Employers

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