Every time nurses or physicians treat their patients, they need to record what they have seen and done; from x-rays and examination notes, to forming diagnoses and treatment plans. Medical records technicians organize and maintain these medical documents. These technicians do not provide patient care; instead, they work behind the scenes with care providers to fill in missing information, process forms, and ensure that insurance companies receive correct records. They use coding systems to document patient information for billing and recordkeeping, and are responsible for the privacy of patient files. These technicians work at a computer for prolonged periods. Whether they’re updating clinic records or tracking a patient’s outcomes, accuracy is essential, so medical records technicians must pay strict attention to detail. Some work with data to analyze health care costs and identify health data trends. Most health information technicians work full-time. In health care facilities that are open 24/7, such as hospitals or nursing care facilities, technicians may need to work evening or overnight shifts. While it’s possible to enter the field with a high school diploma and work experience in a health care setting, most employers prefer to hire candidates who’ve earned a certificate in this field. Passing a certification exam is often required. Medical records technicians provide a service that is critical for quality patient care.
Typical Work Tasks
People who work in this career often:
- Maintain medical facility records.
- Prepare healthcare training materials.
- Prepare official health documents or records.
- Present medical research reports.
- Record patient medical histories.
- Enter patient or treatment data into computers.
- Maintain medical or professional knowledge.
- Perform clerical work in medical settings.
- Process healthcare paperwork.
- Process medical billing information.
Typical Working Conditions
- The importance of being accurate or exact.
- Working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions.
- Having face-to-face discussions.
- Working with a group or team.
- Meeting strict deadlines.
- Freedom to make decisions without supervision.
Most Important Skills for Health Information Specialist
- Reading—Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Listening—Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Speaking—Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Writing—Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Thinking Critically—Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Managing Time—Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Monitoring Performance—Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Making Decisions—Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Solving Complex Problems—Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Understanding How People Learn—Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
Most Important Knowledge Areas for Health Information Specialist
- Clerical—Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- English Language—Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Computers and Electronics—Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Customer and Personal Service—Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Administration and Management—Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Public Safety and Security—Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Law and Government—Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Education and Training—Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Communications and Media—Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
- Mathematics—Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Different careers may be a good fit for your personality or interests. This career is:
- Conventional—Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Enterprising—Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Source: Minnesota CAREERwise
|Wages Per Hour For Health Information Specialist (Northwest MN)|
Low indicates 25% of workers earn less and 75% earn more. Median indicates 50% of workers earn less and 50% earn more. High indicates 75% of workers earn less and 25% earn more.
This career is seeing high growth compared to other careers. There will be a 4.1% growth new for Health Information Specialists to meet market demand between 2018-2028. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.
Source: Minnesota CAREERwise
Education & Training
This career is best for those with at least a High School degree, but most professionals do attend some college. This job does not require a license, but certifications could aid in showcasing knowledge.
Helpful High School Courses
Examples of helpful classes that help you prepare for this career:
- Community Health
- Computer Applications
- Human Development
- Medical Ethics
- Research Methods
- Safety and First Aid/CPR
- World Languages
Source: Minnesota CAREERwise