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Career Guide: Medical Records and Health Information Technicians

Career Guide: Medical Records and Health Information Technicians

U.S. Department of Labor, BLS

At a Glance

• Job prospects should be very good; technicians with a strong background in medical coding will be in particularly high demand.
• Entrants usually have an associate degree.
• This is one of the few health occupations in which there is little or no direct contact with patients.

Nature of the Work

Every time a patient receives health care, a record is maintained of the observations, medical or surgical interventions, and treatment outcomes. This record includes information that the patient provides concerning his or her symptoms and medical history, the results of examinations, reports of x rays and laboratory tests, diagnoses, and treatment plans. Medical records and health information technicians organize and evaluate these records for completeness and accuracy.

Quiz: Is Medical Records Right For You?

1. Do you consider yourself organized and reliable?

I'm always on the ball!
I let a few tasks slide from time to time.

Technicians assemble patients’ health information, making sure that patients’ initial medical charts are complete, that all forms are completed and properly identified and authenticated, and that all necessary information is in the computer. They regularly communicate with physicians and other health care professionals to clarify diagnoses or to obtain additional information. Technicians regularly use computer programs to tabulate and analyze data to improve patient care, better control cost, provide documentation for use in legal actions, or use in research studies.

Medical records and health information technicians’ duties vary with the size of the facility where they work. In large to medium-size facilities, technicians might specialize in one aspect of health information or might supervise health information clerks and transcriptionists while a medical records and health information administrator manages the department. (See the statement on medical and health services managers elsewhere in the Handbook.) In small facilities, a credentialed medical records and health information technician may have the opportunity to manage the department.

Some medical records and health information technicians specialize in coding patients’ medical information for insurance purposes. Technicians who specialize in coding are called health information coders, medical record coders, coder/abstractors, or coding specialists. These technicians assign a code to each diagnosis and procedure, relying on their knowledge of disease processes. Technicians then use classification systems software to assign the patient to one of several hundred “diagnosis-related groups,” or DRGs. The DRG determines the amount for which the hospital will be reimbursed if the patient is covered by Medicare or other insurance programs using the DRG system. In addition to the DRG system, coders use other coding systems, such as those required for ambulatory settings, physician offices, or long-term care.

Medical records and health information technicians also may specialize in cancer registry. Cancer (or tumor) registrars maintain facility, regional, and national databases of cancer patients. Registrars review patient records and pathology reports, and assign codes for the diagnosis and treatment of different cancers and selected benign tumors. Registrars conduct annual followups on all patients in the registry to track their treatment, survival, and recovery. Physicians and public health organizations then use this information to calculate survivor rates and success rates of various types of treatment, locate geographic areas with high incidences of certain cancers, and identify potential participants for clinical drug trials. Public health officials also use cancer registry data to target areas for the allocation of resources to provide intervention and screening.


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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    medusa_112

    about 1 year ago

    6 comments

    HUMAN CONTACT to get the lowdown on patient's social, medical and personal history and present symtoms. Face-to-face the doctor, if he cares and his first priority is helping his paitent, he will not hand him/her over to a machine. Inner instinct counts for a lot, in association with diagnositc tests offered by machines.very interesting!
    http://julyoffice.com

  • _3_001_max50

    Data1990

    almost 2 years ago

    2 comments

    Why that health information technician are not elegible for the AHIMA

  • Aone_max50

    aoneessay

    over 2 years ago

    22 comments

    Write My Paper For Me At Aoneessays.com and We Prepare Original Assignment Papers For Students At A Reasonable Price. We Create Unique And Genuine Academic Papers For Students.
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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    DenFletcher

    almost 4 years ago

    6 comments

    There are a lot of people that would love to work in the health care department but are just too afraid to actually work directly with people. For them, a medical technician's degree would be just the right job prospect. They can still help people a lot but without having to interact directly with them.
    Narconon

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    FranBev

    about 6 years ago

    6 comments

    As a professional Medical Transcriptionist, Coder/Biller and former Medical Assistant the electronic computer age is our friend.

    But when it comes to robotic physicians visiting patients in hospitals and nursing homes for diagnostic assessment and treatments - that is where I draw the line. There is nothing like physical contact - mind, body and spirit are involved, not only data spit out by a machine. There MUST be personal contact.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    FranBev

    about 6 years ago

    6 comments

    As a professional Medical Transcripitonist, Coder/Biller and former Medical Assistant, the electronic computer age is out best friend.

    However, when it comes to robotic physicians visiting patient's in the hospital and/or nursing homes for assessment and diagnosis and treatment - that's where I draw the line. And the doctor and patient should also. Mind, body and spirit is involved in assessing a patient's condition; and there is nothing like gut-feeling. Physical contact is a NECESSITY.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    FranBev

    about 6 years ago

    6 comments

    Electronic Healthcare technology is quick and accurate. As a professional Medical Transcriptionist, Med. Coding/Billing, and former Medical Assistant, the computer is a Medical Records best friend. However, when it comes to robotic physicians visiting patient's and examining and advising them - that's where I draw the line.

    It takes HUMAN CONTACT to get the lowdown on patient's social, medical and personal history and present symtoms. Face-to-face the doctor, if he cares and his first priority is helping his paitent, he will not hand him/her over to a machine. Inner instinct counts for a lot, in association with diagnositc tests offered by machines.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    plummercheryl

    about 6 years ago

    2 comments

    very interesting

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