of the Work:
Medical records and health information technicians assemble patients'
health information including medical history, symptoms, examination
results, diagnostic tests, treatment methods, and all other healthcare
provider services. Technicians organize and manage health information
data by ensuring its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security.
They regularly communicate with physicians and other healthcare
professionals to clarify diagnoses or to obtain additional information.
increasing use of electronic health records (EHR) will continue
to broaden and alter the job responsibilities of health information
technicians. For example, with the use of EHRs, technicians must
be familiar with EHR computer software, maintaining EHR security,
and analyzing electronic data to improve healthcare information.
Health information technicians use EHR software to maintain data
on patient safety, patterns of disease, and disease treatment and
outcome. Technicians also may assist with improving EHR software
usability and may contribute to the development and maintenance
of health information networks.
records and health information technicians' duties vary with the
size of the facility where they work. Technicians can specialize
in many aspects of health information.
medical records and health information technicians specialize in
codifying patients' medical information for reimbursement purposes.
Technicians who specialize in coding are called medical coders or
coding specialists. Medical coders assign a code to each diagnosis
and procedure by using classification systems software. The classification
system determines the amount for which healthcare providers will
be reimbursed if the patient is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or
other insurance programs using the system. Coders may use several
coding systems, such as those required for ambulatory settings,
physician offices, or long-term care.
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 to track treatment,
survival, and recovery. This information is used to calculate survivor
rates and success rates of various types of treatment, to locate
geographic areas with high incidences of certain cancers, and to
identify potential participants for clinical drug trials.
Medical records and health information technicians work in pleasant
and comfortable offices. This is one of the few health-related occupations
in which there is no direct hands-on patient care.
records and health information technicians usually work a typical
40-hour week. Some overtime may be required. In health facilities
that are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, technicians may work
day, evening, and night shifts. About 14 percent of technicians
worked part-time in 2008.