A Day in The Life Of: The Role and Responsibilities
of a Medical Records Technician
Are you considering a position in the medical field, but aren’t sure which route to take? In 2018, the median pay of a medical records technician was $40,350! The job outlook is 11%, which is much higher than average.
In this article, explore the medical records technician job description, and why so many are entering this role. Find out why this role might just be what you’re looking for when going into a position with a good salary, and plenty of open positions.
Medical Records Technician Job Description
A medical records technician job role includes managing and organizing patients’ health information. You’ll be in charge of making sure their information is secure and accurate.
You’ll speak with healthcare professionals and doctors to verify diagnoses. The information from a doctor’s note is placed into the patient’s medical record.
Different tasks can include:
- Ensuring codes are correct for the diagnoses of the patient
- Entering data into the computer
- Processing discharge and admissions documents
- Protecting the security of the patients
- Reviewing documents for accuracy
Another name for a medical records technician is a coder or coding specialist. They assign the correct codes to each patient based on their diagnosis, and then these codes are applied for reimbursement and planning.
How Do You Become a Medical Records Technician?
To become a medical records technician, you’ll need a certificate in health information technology, or online medical information training obtaining an associate’s degree. Common courses you’ll take can include anatomy, health care reimbursement methods, medical terminology, and coding systems.
After completion of your degree or certificate, you can then sit for different examinations to obtain professional certifications. You can look into the Registered Health Information Technician certification which is from the American Health Information Management Association.
Other certifications can include the Certified Risk Adjustment Coder(CRC), the Certified Professional Coder (CPC), and Certified Outpatient Coder (COC). The more certifications you obtain, the more likely you are to receive raises and promotions.
Medical Record Technician Work Schedules
Medical records technicians work on computers in an office. As you gain experience, certain employers will allow you to work from home.
This role is full-time. If you work for a hospital, you might work odd hours such as overnights or evenings.
Qualities You Should Have
If you’re interested in becoming a medical records technician, you should have integrity, and be detail-oriented. Since you’ll spend most of your day on the computer, you’ll need to be comfortable with technology.
Job Locations of a Medical Technician
While hospitals are the main setting for medical technicians, you can also work in other locations where medical records and health information services are located. You can work for pharmaceutical companies, physicians, and insurance companies.
Some medical records technicians can work in rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and home health agencies. You can also find roles in government agencies as well.
While in some roles you can have standard daytime hours, you might have to work evenings and holidays in others. You can receive on the job training for this role instead of education, but it’s rare.
What Is an Online Medical Records Program Like?
If you decide to take an online program, they’re similar to a traditional classroom setting, just online. If you’re working full-time or have other responsibilities, you can take many of them at your own pace.
Many of them can be completed in months or done over a longer period of time if necessary. This role normally doesn’t require internships.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Are you still not sure whether a medical records technician is the right role for you? While you won’t be working directly with patients, you’ll still be involved in helping with their overall care.
Would you say that you have good technical skills? Since you’ll be on the computer most of the day, you’ll be learning different software programs for your role.
Are you communicative? You’ll be speaking with medical professionals and physicians throughout your day. You might also need to speak with family members or the patients themselves.
Are you a multitasker? You might find yourself taking phone calls, inputting data, and accessing information all at the same time. Time management is essential for this role.
Are you going to be responsible? Patients’ data will be relying on privacy and maintaining their information. Since you’ll see patients’ insurance and financial information, you’ll need to have the code of ethics to keep that information private.
Pros and Cons
As with any role, there are pros and cons to being a medical records technician. If you enjoy working with others and alone, you enjoy following a routine and don’t mind being indoors all day, this could be the right role for you. If you’re someone who doesn’t like technology or routine, this might not be the right position for you.
If you’re not sure that a medical records technician is the right position for you, there are other similar positions such as medical assistants and information clerks. Are you looking for a role that doesn’t require much education and allows you to work with patients? Consider a medical assistant.
Are you interested in working on your own? Consider becoming a medical transcriptionist. Many in this role work from home as well.
Another option is what’s known as an information clerk. You will collect data and provide information to your customers. This is a clerical position where you’ll maintain records.
Interested in learning about different medications? Consider a role as a pharmacy technician. You’ll help provide medications to health professionals and customers.
Do You Have What It Takes?
Now that you’ve explored the job description of medical records technician, you should have a better idea if this role is right for you… and now it’s up to you to get out there and start exploring IRL, the endless possibilities of a new and exciting career in the medical field.