Health Information Management

Medical records and health information management technicians, commonly referred to as health information management technicians, organize and manage health information management data by ensuring its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper and electronic systems. They use various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories.

Duties

Health information management technicians typically do the following:

  • Review patient records for timeliness, completeness, accuracy, and appropriateness of data
  • Organize and maintain data for clinical databases and registries
  • Track patient outcomes for quality assessment
  • Use classification software to assign clinical codes for reimbursement and data analysis 
  • Electronically record data for collection, storage, analysis, retrieval, and reporting
  • Protect patients’ health information management for confidentiality, authorized access for treatment, and data security

All health information management technicians document patients’ health information management, including their medical history, symptoms, examination and test results, treatments, and other information about healthcare services that are provided to patients. Their duties vary with the size of the facility in which they work.

Although health information management technicians do not provide direct patient care, they work regularly with registered nurses and other healthcare professionals. They meet with these workers to clarify diagnoses or to get additional information to make sure that records are complete and accurate.
The increasing use of electronic health records (EHRs) will continue to change the job responsibilities of health information management technicians. Federal legislation provides incentives for physicians’ offices and hospitals to implement EHR systems into their practice. This will lead to continued adoption of this software in these facilities. Technicians will need to be familiar with, or be able to learn, EHR computer software, follow EHR security and privacy practices, and analyze electronic data to improve healthcare information as more healthcare providers and hospitals adopt EHR systems.

Education

Health information technicians typically need a postsecondary certificate to enter the occupation, although they may have an associate’s degree. Many employers also require professional certification.

Most employers prefer to hire health information technicians who have professional certification. A health information technician can earn certification from several organizations. Some organizations base certification on passing an exam. Others require graduation from an accredited program. Once certified, technicians typically must renew their certification regularly and take continuing education courses. Certifications include Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR), among others. Many coding certifications require coding experience in a work setting.

Job Outlook

Employment of health information management technicians is projected to grow 22 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for health services is expected to increase as the population ages. 

The median hourly wage for health information management technicians is $ 14.81 in Montana.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Medical Records and Health information management Technicians

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