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Become A Records Specialist

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Working As A Records Specialist

  • 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 Records Specialist 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 Records Specialist

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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Records Specialist jobs

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Records Specialist Career Paths

Records Specialist
Human Resources Assistant Human Resources Coordinator Specialist
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Accounts Receivable Specialist Staff Accountant
Accounting Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Program Manager Business Developer
Business Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Assistant Accounts Payable Clerk Billing Specialist
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Paralegal Case Manager Program Manager
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Accounting Clerk Billing Specialist Collector
Collections Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Records Coordinator Office Manager Human Resources Coordinator
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Accounting Clerk Finance Analyst Senior Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Specialist Account Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Accounts Payable Clerk Finance Analyst Business Analyst
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Data Entry Associate Data Entry Specialist Office Manager
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Accounts Payable Clerk Human Resources Coordinator Program Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Registered Nurse Case Manager
Nursing Director
9 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Project Manager Program Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Records Coordinator Records Manager Office Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Paralegal Operations Manager Business Manager
Practice Administrator
10 Yearsyrs
Data Entry Associate Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Specialist Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Specialist Account Manager Account Executive
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Specialist Project Manager Program Manager
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Records Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

69.3%

Male

28.8%

Unknown

1.8%
Ethnicity

White

80.2%

Hispanic or Latino

11.6%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

1.4%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.9%

French

7.6%

Mandarin

3.8%

Chinese

3.8%

Russian

3.0%

Cantonese

2.3%

German

2.3%

Arabic

2.3%

Hmong

1.5%

Greek

1.5%

Italian

1.5%

Portuguese

1.5%

Sami

0.8%

Vietnamese

0.8%

Somali

0.8%

Hebrew

0.8%

Indonesian

0.8%

Ukrainian

0.8%

Malay

0.8%

Thai

0.8%
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Records Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

18.8%

Boise State University

16.0%

University of Houston

4.9%

New Mexico State University

4.5%

Kaplan University

4.5%

Strayer University

4.2%

Liberty University

4.2%

Colorado Technical University

4.2%

Ashford University

3.5%

Arizona State University

3.5%

Houston Community College

3.5%

Idaho State University

3.5%

Capella University

3.5%

University of South Florida

3.1%

Walden University

3.1%

Santa Fe College

3.1%

Florida State University

3.1%

Grand Canyon University

3.1%

Indiana Wesleyan University

3.1%

Pennsylvania State University

2.8%
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Majors

Business

27.1%

Criminal Justice

9.1%

Health Care Administration

7.1%

Psychology

7.1%

Accounting

6.2%

Legal Support Services

4.2%

English

4.0%

Communication

3.7%

General Studies

3.4%

Management

3.3%

Nursing

3.2%

Computer Information Systems

3.2%

Human Resources Management

2.9%

Computer Science

2.7%

Liberal Arts

2.5%

Sociology

2.4%

Education

2.3%

Biology

1.9%

Political Science

1.9%

Social Work

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

36.6%

Other

25.3%

Masters

14.3%

Associate

14.0%

Certificate

7.1%

Diploma

1.5%

Doctorate

1.0%

License

0.2%
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Top Skills for A Records Specialist

DataEntryProceduresCustomerServiceMedicalRecordsAuditFinancialLawEnforcementAgenciesCriminalBackgroundChecksPhoneCallsRecordsManagementSystemStudentRecordsPersonnelRecordsRecordsDepartmentSpecialProjectsHipaaInternetComputerSystemPoliceReportsPrivacyOffsiteStorage

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Top Records Specialist Skills

  1. Data Entry
  2. Procedures
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Perform data entry utilizing a tracking database and research and query the system for documentation and information needed by supervisors.
  • Create and maintain operating procedures and quality reports as required.
  • General customer service assisting secretaries and paralegals.
  • Use a laptop computer and a portable scanner to retrieve sections of medical records which will be uploaded into a database.
  • Conduct regular and quarterly audits of student records to ensure data reliability and accuracy.

Top Records Specialist Employers

Records Specialist Videos

Medical Coding Salary and Wage Information

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