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Medical Records and Health Information Technician Job Description, Career as a Medical Records and Health Information Technician, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

technicians hospitals patient patients

Education and Training: Community college

Salary: Median—$25,590 per year

Employment Outlook: Very good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Most medical records and health information technicians work in hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. They most often work with computerized record systems and maintain hospital reports on patients. Medical records and health information technicians keep track of patients' medical histories and charts, ensure that all the proper forms are present and signed, and make certain that the medical information is correct and accessible to doctors and nurses. In large facilities medical records and health information technicians work in the records department under the direction of a medical record administrator. In small facilities highly experienced technicians may head the medical records department.

Medical records and health information technicians check each patient's chart before the patient leaves the facility. They make sure that all necessary information about the patient's illness is on record. These records must be maintained for insurance purposes and in the event the patient returns to the facility. In addition, records technicians sometimes collect information, such as the kinds of diseases treated. The statistics that are gathered from this information can help both doctors and scientists in their research.

Some medical records and health information technicians specialize in putting medical information into code. This code makes it easier to use the information in the files. Codes also make it easier to cross-index the files. Cross-indexing is an important part of a health information technician's job. In a cross-indexed system, information on a particular treatment might be available not only under the name of the patient, but also under the name of the disease or under the names of the doctors involved in the case.

Education and Training Requirements

A high school diploma is necessary to be a medical records and health information technician. Junior and community colleges offer two-year training programs that lead to an associate degree. These programs usually include courses in biology, record keeping, and data processing. After training, technicians are eligible to take a test to become a registered health information technician (RHIT). Although all technicians do not have to be accredited, many hospitals require it, especially for promotion to jobs with more responsibilities. Medical records and health information technicians should be organized and accurate, and they should demonstrate attention to detail.

Getting the Job

If individuals attend a training program, their school placement office may be able to help them find a job. Candidates can apply directly to hospitals, clinics, and medical centers. They can also check with private employment agencies and state employment offices for available positions. Newspaper want ads and job banks on the Internet sometimes carry listings for medical record technicians and clerks.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

With additional study, a medical records and health information technician can qualify as a medical record administrator. In addition, a technician can advance by specializing, such as becoming a coding specialist. Many hospitals encourage technicians to continue their schooling by giving them time off from work to attend classes. Records technicians who work for the government may take civil service tests to advance.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2004 approximately 40 percent of medical records and health information technicians were employed by hospitals. The rest were employed in doctors' offices, nursing care facilities, outpatient care centers, and home health care services. Some insurance firms employ a small number of health information technicians to tabulate and analyze health information. Public health departments also hire technicians to supervise data collection from health care institutions and to assist in research.

The employment outlook for medical records and health information technicians is very good through the year 2014, with projections indicating these occupations to grow much faster than the average. While hospitals will continue to employ the largest number of medical records and health information technicians, job growth will be faster in the offices and clinics of physicians, nursing homes, and home health agencies. One of the biggest tasks of the health care industry will be to keep track of the increasing number of medical records necessary for insurance claims, Medicare reimbursement, and legal actions. The rapid growth of medical tests and procedures, plus an increasing volume in medical records, will require more workers to keep patients' records up to date.

Medical records and health information technicians ensure that all the information about patients is correct and accessible to doctors and nurses. Good records are important for insurance reasons, for research, and in case the patient returns to the hospital. (© Martha Tabor/Working Images Photographs. Reproduced by permission.)

Working Conditions

The record departments of hospitals are usually pleasant places in which to work. Medical records and health information technicians usually have little to no contact with patients. Most technicians work forty hours per week. However, since records are needed in hospitals twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, there is some night and weekend work. Part-time work may also be available.

Where to Go for More Information

American Academy of Professional Coders
2480 S. 3850 West, Ste. B
Salt Lake City, Utah 84120
(800) 626-2633

American Health Information Management Association
233 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 2150
Chicago, IL 60601-5800
(312) 233-1100

Earnings and Benefits

Salaries vary depending on geographical location and experience. The median salary for accredited medical records and health information technicians was $25,590 per year in 2004, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Benefits include paid holidays and vacations, health insurance, and pension plans.

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almost 6 years ago

Am a lady who is on job training and want to take a course in Medical Records and Health Information.

Thank you

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almost 6 years ago

Am a lady who is on job training and want to take a course in Medical Records and Health Information.

Thank you

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over 7 years ago

Carol A. Mabry

4704 15th Ave. S

Minneapolis, MN 55407



*Enterprise Consulting Soulution (ECS, Inc.)

1507 W Parkside Lane

Phoenix, AZ 85027

1-15-11 – Still Employed

Field Technician: Travel to various medical facilities for medical records chart audits. Retrieve correct files, scan or download to flash drive and transmit to home office in AZ.

*University of Minnesota Physicians

5-20-2009 – 7-9-2010

Health Information Technician: All aspects of medical records, filing, scanning, ROI, Copy Service, customer service, knowledge of Hippa.

*Med-Search Employment

4-1-2007 – 9-1-2007

Business Office, Data Entry : Six month temporary assignment at Minnesota Eye Clinic in the business office doing data entry for HCFA billing. Customer phone calls.

*VA Medical Center

9-1-2003 – 9-1-2006

Medical Support Assistant: Daily chart prep, front desk customer service, scheduling, paitent registration, assisting physicians with refferals. Also, I helped the medication nurse with faxes and messages.

Telephone Room Support: One of four telephone room personnel with the duty of answering calls, 100+ daily, and tranferring to the correct department, answering questions with available chart information, such as medication refils, appointment information, changing demographics. Ability to work with Triage RN in cases of emergent calls. Taking messages.

*Allina Medical, Minnesota Heart Institute

9-1-2000 – 9-1-2003

Physician Secretary: Worked with three Cardilogists doing personal and patient schedules, answering patient calls, scheduling testing, catherazations, pacemaker insertions. Arranging patient accomodations. Physician travel, air reservations. Confirming clinic hours.

Electronic Medical Records: I was asked to take a recess from my secretarial position to help meet a deadline for the medical records department. The transfer from paper to electronic records was behind

schedule because files could not be put in charts fast enough. I worked the position for four months and the department was able to meet deadline.

Billing Project Co-ordinator: I was asked to work with the hospital coding department and the pacemaker department to find a solution to a billing problem that had accumulated $500,000.00 in unpaid claims. I came up with a workable program where phyicians could be emailed coded explainations for signature and re-billing. Two months the total had reduced to $10,000.00.

Paceart Project: The pacemaker department had just acquired a phone pacemaker system, Paceart, and needed help to download paper charts into the electronic system.

Clinical Data Co-ordinator: The clinical supervisor position was eliminated and several of the duties needed to be done. I was assigned to do the data gathering which consisted of going through each days charge tickets and noting details, clinic time, ekgs, treadmill tests, etc. This information was then entered into a exel program so it could be analyzed the next day in management meetings.

*Allina Medical, Behavioral Health

9-1-1997 – 9-1-2000

Adminstrative Assistant: Second in line running behavioral clinic. Knowledge of every position and the ability to fill absences. Some billing and coding of office visits. Physician credentialing and orientation. Correspondence, scheduling, phone calls for Clinic Supervisor. Chart audits and conducting audits with insurance representatives. Ordering supplies. Ability to handle difficult mentally ill clients.

Qualifications / Skills

Effective communication, high orginazational skills

Basic office equipment knowledge, fax, copier, etc.

Data collection and entry

Medical forms, Rule 25 reports

Front desk experience, scheduling, reception, demographic updates

Multiple software programs, Disc, Epic, Vista, Med-swiss, Paceart, FCIS

Chart audit preparations

Medical records, ROI, Copy service, scanning, filing, customer service, Hippa

Prior Authorizations

Medical Terminology

Windows, Outlook, Excel

Physician credentialing and orientation

Hospital Bed Control

Scheduling test, lab, radiology, surgery, heart specific tests

Insuance billing and coding

Multiple telephone lines, phone room 100+ calls daily

Non Profit Organizations

Crisis phone volunteer: Six weeks of training, answering calls on crisis line ranging from giving information, to contacting officials for suicide intent.

Chaplin's Assistant, Northside Hospital, Atlanta: Attending to familes in critical waiting area's.

Meals on Wheels: Two years of service delivering meals to the elderly and shut in.

Co-Building Chairman, Alpharetta Presbyterian Church: One year commitment, $250,000.00 budget for the entire interior, purchase of everything from light fixtures, carpet, music, dishes, finished on time and with-in budget.

Field, Regina, Northrup Neighborhood (FRNNG) Group, NRP South Minneapolis: Two years as secretary and three years as president of the board. 10,000 person neighborhood, multi-million dollar budget.


Sue Miller, Sue Miller Consultants

Personal Friend


Rebecca Groehns

Former Co-Worker, UM Physicians HIMS


Pat Roether

Former Co-Worker, VA Medical Center


Donna Williams, RN

Former Co-Worker, VA Medical Center


Debbie Pluta, RN

Former Co-Worker, Aspen Medical Center


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over 10 years ago

I agree this site helped me out a lot. It answered all the questions I had about becoming a Medical Record Technician. I really know that this is the career that I want to do.

Thank You