Medical Record and Health Information Technician

Pros


  • This is a job that helps people. This is done by making sure that their medical records are accurate and properly organized.
  • There are no physical requirements for this type of work, and it is done in a clean and comfortable environment.
  • The type of work that is required for this field is great for those who are good at and have a strong interest in computer systems.

Cons

  • You must be willing to sit at a desk for long periods of time, in front of a computer.
  • This type of work often involves routine, repetitive tasks. You must be someone who can handle performing these duties.
  • You will need to work with other medical professionals who may not be very good with computers; you must be capable of teaching new concepts to others.

Overview

Medical records and health information technicians are charged with organizing and maintaining digital health records. These records can include examination records, diagnostic test reports, treatment procedures and other recorded documents that can make up a patient’s medical history. Often these reports are in paper form and need to be converted over to a digital medium so that they can be better organized and last much longer.

Many medical facilities are changing their systems from a paper-based recording model to using electronic medical records. Because of this, medical records and health information technicians spend a lot of their time working with specialized software that is capable of properly storing these digital records. They troubleshoot problems with the system as they arise. They also may spend time doing network administration and maintenance to ensure that the computer systems are running efficiently and error-free.

Very often medical records and health information technicians need to have special knowledge of their particular workplace in order to succeed. Sometimes they may have to work outside of normal hours in order to perform work because most medical facilities operate on a twenty-four hour schedule. Because there are so many different types of medical facilities, there are a number of places that these types of workers can be found. While many of them are found in hospitals, but they can also be found working in physician’s offices, in longer term care facilities or in emergency medical response services.

Education

To enter this field, prospective medical records and health information technicians need to complete an associate’s degree in health information technology. Coursework for this type of degree involves anatomy, healthcare reimbursement and database management. To appear more attractive to potential employers, many who get a degree also become certified through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). As with most technology jobs, this type of work will also require continuing education as technology trends shift in the industry.

Job Prospects

The prospects for this type of work are very good as job growth is expected to rise much faster than other occupations, even from within the healthcare sector. Technology is advancing at faster rates than ever before. Because of this, and along with the push from the federal government to digitize medical records to achieve cost efficiency in the healthcare system, the outlook in this field will be excellent in the long term.

Advancement Opportunities

There are several avenues to take for medical records and health information technicians to advance up the career ladder. They can complete an advanced degree, such as in a bachelor’s or master’s program. They can then eventually move into a role as a health information systems manager, which is well paying and offers a lot of responsibility. Others many find an interest in medical coding, or work to gain certification in a particular area which gives them specialized work opportunities.