When you visit a medical office, filling patient forms is a typical requirement. After you fill out papers, they are then given to a medical clerk who carefully interprets and inputs data for doctors and insurance companies. Medical clerks are unseen by patients, but play an important role in health care facilities. According to the Occupational Information Network, a medical clerk is also known as a medical records and health information technician.
According to the Occupational Information Network, a medical clerk compiles, processes and maintains records of patients in a way that is consistent to the requirements of health care systems. A medical clerk understands medical, ethical, administrative, legal and regulatory requirements in medical record keeping. A clerk prepares patient information for the purpose of health standards and requirements. A clerk works with technology, such as medical charting systems, microfiche, postal scales, scanners and multi-line telephone systems. These workers use medical software, accounting software and database user interface and query software.
Environment and Hours
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical clerks can be found in comfortable and well-lit offices. Medical clerks have little contact with patients and are not involved in direct patient care. Medical clerks typically work a 40-hour workweek. Some may work in facilities that are open around the clock, seven days per week. Clerks can work evening and weekend shifts. In 2008, approximately 14 percent of technicians worked part-time.
Education and Training
According to College Board, a non-profit that connects students with educational opportunities, employers require medical clerks to have an associate's degree for a community college or junior college. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, courses include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, health data requirements and standards, data analysis, clinical classification and coding systems and database management. Many employers seek technicians with a Registered Health Information Technician certification provided by the American Health Information Management Association. An applicant is required to have an associate degree and take an examination to be eligible for certification.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical records and health information technicians earned a national mean hourly wage of $16.29 and a national mean annual wage of $33,880 in May 2009. The industries that employed the highest number of medical records and health information technicians were general medical and surgical hospitals with a mean annual wage of $35,870; offices of physicians, $28,460; nursing care facilities, $33,100; outpatient care centers, $30,650; and the Federal Executive Branch, $45,120.
According to the National Employment Matrix from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for medical records and health information technicians is expected to increase at a rate of 20 percent through 2018. The increase will correlate with the need for medical tests, procedures and treatments to be performed. Job opportunities will be very good, especially for those with a specific understanding in computer software and technology.
- Occupational Information Network: Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics and Wages, May 2009: Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
- College Board: Health Information Technicians
- Photo Credit young pretty clerk image by Ales Masner from Fotolia.com
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