Medical Record Technicians gather and organize patient information, like medical history, symptoms, test results, treatments, and medications. Technicians are responsible for making sure the data is accurate and organized for easy retrieval. File cabinets are things of the past, so medical records technicians have to be familiar with HER software, which maintains data on patterns of disease, treatments and results. Technicians can specialize in codifying patients’ medical information (called medical coders) using classification software. Classification determines how reimbursement works with Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance programs, which is information vital for any doctor’s office. At least a cursory understanding of health IT or health informatics is crucial to success in this field.
Medical records and health information technicians earn an average of $30,600 per year, although the highest paid technicians earn over $50,000 per year. Those who earn the most tend to work in hospitals and nursing care facilities. After having gained experience in the workplace, some technicians advance their careers by getting bachelor’s or master’s degrees, or by specializing. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree allows technicians to become health information managers. Specialty certification is usually based on work experience, but sometimes requires formal education.
Entry-level medical information technicians have associate degrees, however, having a Registered Health Information Technicians credential is often preferred by employers. Coursework in health information technology teaches database management, how insurance reimbursement works, classification and coding systems for different types of insurance, medical terminology, and basic anatomy and physiology. Those who took biology, math, chemistry, health, and computer science in high school will have an advantage in class. Credentials are often based on passing an exam, and programs teach the information that will be on it. Coding credentials, however, usually require work experience in coding. But, it’s not only math and computer skills that are valued by employers; this job requires good communication skills since health information technicians have to communicate with healthcare facilities, insurance companies.