Medical record technicians play an important role in the delivery of proper medical care. Working in doctor's offices, hospitals and other health-care settings, medical record technicians help assure that a patient's medical records are accurately recorded and stored in a secure manner. The work of medical records technicians is also important for the purposes of billing as well as compliance with industry regulation.
Medical records technicians are primarily responsible for the accurate and secure storage and retrieval of a patient's medical records. Paper files are still used in many settings, but the use of electronic data storage is growing and medical records technicians spend an increasing part of their day working on computers. Medical records technicians duties may vary depending on their employer. Technicians may work with doctors and nurses to clarify information, may be involved in medical billing, and may assist with other office duties.
Medical records technicians have traditionally been trained on the job, but with the increasing reliance on electronic records, many employers are requiring prospective employees to have completed training in the field. Training for medical records technicians is often provided by vocational schools and community colleges. Medical records technicians can obtain a certification as a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) by completing a program of study accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education and passing a certification test.
Medical records technicians' wages vary widely depending on geographic location and the specific employer. As of May 2008, medical records technicians employed by the federal executive branch were the highest-paid, earning on average just over $42,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In May 2008, the lowest-earning medical records technicians worked in physician offices and averaged just over $26,000 annually, according to the BLS. The average salary overall for medical records technicians was $30,610.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects openings for medical records technicians to grow 20 percent from 2008 through 2018, which is faster than the national average. According to the BLS, the need for medical record technicians will grow because of a number of factors, including the aging population requiring more medical care and the increase in preventative medical testing. Openings will also be created for medical records technicians through older workers retiring, advancing in their career, and employee turnover.
The largest number of medical records technicians work in hospitals, according to the BLS. However, medical records technicians are employed by variety of health-care-related businesses. In addition to hospitals, medical records technicians may work in private doctor offices, physical therapy offices, nursing homes, home health agencies, behavioral health centers, mental health centers, and other health-care-related service providers.
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