Medical Records and Health Information Technicians (patient information medical records hospitals health health care health clinics)

What Medical Records and Health Information Technicians Do


Medical records and health information technicians, commonly referred to as health information technicians, organize and manage health information data. They ensure that the information 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.

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 insurance 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.


Work Environment



Medical records and health information technicians typically work in offices and may spend many hours in front of computer monitors. Some technicians may work from home.

Medical records and health information technicians held about 206,300 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of medical records and health information technicians were as follows:
Hospitals; state, local, and private 36%
Offices of physicians 19
Administrative and support services 8
Professional, scientific, and technical services 7
Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities) 6

Medical records and health information technicians typically work in offices and may spend many hours in front of computer monitors. Some technicians may work from home.

How to Become a Medical Records or 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, communication, 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.


Pay



The median annual wage for medical records and health information technicians was $40,350 in May 2018.

The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,550, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $66,260.
In May 2018, the median annual wages for medical records and health information technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private $43,470
Professional, scientific, and technical services $41,890
Administrative and support services $41,800
Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities) $37,630
Offices of physicians        $35,520


Job Outlook


Employment of health information technicians is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for health services is expected to increase as the population ages.

An aging population will require more medical services, and health information technicians will be needed to organize and manage the older generations’ health information data. This will mean more claims for reimbursement from insurance companies.
Additional records, coupled with widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs) by all types of healthcare providers, will lead to an increased need for technicians to organize and manage the associated information in all areas of the healthcare industry.

Cancer registrars are expected to continue to be in high demand. As the population ages, there will likely be more types of special purpose registries because many illnesses are detected and treated later in life.