A Career on the Business Side of the Medical Profession
The field of Medical Records, also known as Health Information Technology is another entry level health care career option. When a patient receives medical care, a record is maintained of the observations, tests, medical procedures and treatment. If you are looking for a career in the medical field but not interested in working directly with patients or if you are more adept with computers and technology, then a position as a Medical Records as a Health Information Technician may be right for you.
Medical Records Technicians compile patients’ health information.
- Make sure that initial medical charts are complete and that all forms and other paperwork are completed.
- Regularly communicate with health care professionals to clarify diagnoses or to obtain additional information.
- Some health information technicians specialize in coding patients’ medical information for insurance and billing purposes. These specialists assign a code to each diagnosis or procedure. They consult classification manuals and rely on their knowledge of disease processes.
- A health information technician may also tabulate and analyze data to improve patient care, control costs or for use in research studies.
Medical Records and health information technician duties vary greatly depending on the setting. In large institutions, they might specialize in one aspect of health care information. In a smaller doctor’s office or clinic, a technican could wear many hats and take on other office related functions.
- Working conditions will vary. Hospitals may staff a medical records office 24 hours a day requiring evening and night shifts.
- Accuracy is essential and attention to detail is a must as records provide valuable information to health care staff.
- This is a one health occupation in which there is very little direct contact with patients.
Education and Training
Most Medical Records and health information technicians will earn an associate degree from a community college or junior college. Coursework includes medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, legal issues, data abstraction and coding, statistics, database management, quality improvement, and computer courses. There are now on-line courses, excellerated programs and on-the-job training available in this field. Certification is also available and can enhance your job and promotion prospects. Advancement is available to those who want to specialize or become managers.
Prospects in this field are very good. Employment of medical records and health information technicians is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade. This due to the rapid growth in the number of tests, treatments and procedures and their increased scrutinization by insurance companies and regulators. Recently, federal regulations have begun to mandate electronic record keeping. This should further increase the demand for positions in the medical records field.
Most of the new jobs are expected in physician’s offices. This is a direct result of an increasing demand for good, detailed records in large group practices. The growing aging population will lead to growth in home health care, outpatient centers and residential care facilities. These will also lead to job growth in the medical records specialty.
Medical Records and Health Information Technology positions offer a place in the medical field for those with good analytical and computer skills but in an area removed from day-to-day patient care. This is a fast-paced, team oriented environment with opportunities for career growth and advancement.