How to become a medical records technician

  • Medical records technicians organize and manage patients’ health information data. They are also called as medical records and health information technicians or health information technicians. They are responsible for maintaining the quality, accessibility, accuracy, and security of information in either electronic or paper system. It is their job to categorize patient information and use the most effective classification systems to make it easier to sort out data for databases or for insurance reimbursement. To become a medical records technician, one needs to be trained and to earn certifications proving their capability to perform their job.

  • Medical records technician education

    Some employers accept medical records technician applicants with a high school diploma or GED, but provide training on the job. Others require their technicians to have an associate’s degree and have taken up courses in biology, physiology, anatomy, medical terminology, medical ethics and laws, and business practices. A bachelor’s degree is not required, but it provides an edge to those who want to work their way into supervisory positions.

    Medical records technician training

    Medical records technology or health information management programs are offered by various junior colleges, although some schools may offer them under the name of “health information technology,” or any other similar names. These programs usually teach students about database management and security, commonly used medical coding systems, insurance industry practices, and data analysis. They should be approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

    Medical records technicians may choose to specialize in cancer registry, which focuses on recording and managing data about the different types of cancer and their treatments. These data are often submitted to the national cancer registry operated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Others may specialize in medical transcription, which is mainly about transcribing a doctor’s audio notes into the computer. Any other specializations can be obtained during schooling or on the job.

    Medical records technician certification

    To sit for the certification exam administered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), one needs an associate degree. Passing the certification means getting the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) designation. Those who want to get certified as coding specialists have to pass the exam administered by the Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS), Board of Medical Specialty Coding, or the American Academy of Professional Codes (AAPC). Passing the coding specialist exam will earn the candidates the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) designation. However, they need to be an AAPC member and have two years of professional experience to take the CPC certification exam.

    Medical records technician advancement

    To keep their certification current, medical records technicians have to take continuing education courses offered by the Board of Medical Specialty Coding or the PAHCS. The more experience and training these technicians get, the more opportunities they will have at getting promoted or getting a rise, especially if they are working in large hospitals or private practice.

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