Jobs in the medical profession are the most popular career choices for many young people today. Medical professionals are in high demand, from working in a doctor’s office to hospital jobs. From doctors and nurses, to medical technicians, the medical field opportunities are varied and interesting. One potential career in the medical field that requires no direct involvement with patients is the job of medical records technician. A medical office has tons of medical records to keep on file. Office and privacy policies require that proper care is taken to keep these records in order, up to date and available for each patient. Each record contains vital information such as medical history and current treatment, as well as each patient’s insurance billing information. With a Medical Technology Certificate, you can be on your way to becoming a certified Medical Records Technician.
What are the Job Responsibilities of a Medical Records Technician?
A doctor’s office is only as good as its records. Every time a patient sees the doctor, something new is added to his or her chart. Medical records will always be in need of updating with the patient’s most recent test results and medication reviews. It is the job of the medical records technician to keep these critical records updated daily, weekly or monthly, with each patient’s visit. The duties of a medical records technician are to maintain current records, input new patient information, update insurance billing contacts, and ensure that medical billing information is current and correct. References to and from other doctors, as well as keeping patients notes on symptoms, treatments and drug interactions are also part of the technician’s daily duties.
As a medical records technician, your job will require knowledge of medical terminology. Special skills necessary for a technician in medical records is being able to read and understand medical language and shorthand. Doctors will normally use the Latin shorthand on what is placed in the patient’s file. Medical records technicians will correctly record prescribed medication, including dosing, as well as any other health related notes made by the physician. This information is entered into the computer database, so good typing skills are also necessary.
Working with other medical professionals is also part of the job, and requires a professional attitude and appearance. As in any medical profession today, learning the guidelines on patient privacy is extremely important. Current laws on HIPPA, the health insurance patient privacy act, are strictly followed and penalties for violation of HIPPA can be severe. With access to medical records, it is crucial to understand the privacy law and rights of the patient.
What are the Training and Education Requirements for Medical Records Technician?
While becoming proficient with the office computer system and software can be done as on job training, a three to six month course in Medical Technology can train you for becoming a medical records technician. Some medical offices require a two-year degree in medical technology or a health information management course. Once you have completed the required courses, you can take the certification exam and become a certified medical records technician. Certification is not required by some doctors or facilities, however some employers will hire only certified technicians.
RHIT, or Registered Health Information Technician is another name for Medical Records Technician, and it shows potential employers that the certified medical professional has taken the health information management course. Finding work in any medical field of specialty, such as cardiology or cancer treatment centers will usually require this certification.
What are the Expected Salary and Wages of a Medical Records Technician?
A Certified Medical Records Technician with a two-year degree can make over $30,000 annually, while a certified technician with on job training can make from $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Wages may depend on locality and what medical facility you choose to work at. Private physicians may not pay as well as hospitals and clinics, while cities with large populations may pay better than small towns in rural areas. With the expected changes in health insurance programs in the near future, medical records technology and medical coding abilities will be in high demand. Medical records professionals are well sought after and in some cases may offer a work at home opportunity.
Are There Professional Associations for Medical Records Technicians
Once certified as a Medical Records Technician, several associations are available for maintaining your certification through continuing education classes. Most certificates of technical training are good for two years, requiring a technician to renew the certificate with 20 hours of course work through an accredited program. AHIMA, the American Health Information Management Association is one profession organization that offers the course work or where to find the credits needed for re-certification. Another association for medical health information professionals is the American Academy of Coders.