What Does a Medical Records Administrator Do?

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Each time a person goes to a doctor or medical facility a record is made of the visit. Medical records can follow a person throughout life, documenting everything from a cold to major surgery. The benefit of the documentation is so people can move about the country or the world and have their records follow them wherever they go. As the world becomes more mobile, the work of a medical records administrator makes it all possible.

Things You'll Need

  • Passing grade on the AHIMA exam (American Health Information Management Association)
  • Keeping accurate records is an important part of the job. Each time a patient receives health care a record is created. The diagnosis and treatment outcomes are recorded, including patient-provided information concerning their symptoms and previous history, the results of examinations, reports and testing. Medical records personnel organize and evaluate these records for completeness and accuracy. Throughout each patient record, codes are assigned for diagnosis and procedures. Each code is assigned to a classification system by using a software program. This puts the patient in one of several hundred "diagnosis-related groups," or DRGs. The DRG determines the amount for which the hospital will be reimbursed if the patient is covered by Medicare or other insurance programs that use the DRG system.

  • Assembling chart information is where the first record begins. Medical records personnel make sure that the initial medical chart is complete and that all forms are properly completed and authenticated. Because they work behind the scenes, medical records personnel have little or no direct contact with patients. Communication is part of the daily job with insurance companies, medical professionals and other medical technicians. Good communication skills is important in this position.

  • Receipt and examination of patient information requests from third-party carriers, hospital personnel and/or physicians is a major duty. Preparing medical reports such as extended care studies, disease evaluations and payment comparisons are common tasks. The Medical Records Administrator has regular contact with insurance providers, federal agencies, hospitals, physicians and agency/institution personnel.

  • Regulated by state and federal laws and the particular institution's policies, a medical records administrator is usually a management role, particularly in a larger office or facility. The duties can vary based on the size of the facility and needs of the office. A smaller office may not have an administrator, or if they do, that person may do the work themselves instead of managing others who do. Advancement is accomplished by either specializing or moving into a management role.

  • Analysis of data for the purpose of improving patient care, controlling costs and providing documentation for use in legal actions or research studies can be accomplished using computer programs. Because much of the work of a medical administrator is at a computer for prolonged periods of time, people in this occupation can experience eyestrain and muscle pain and conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

  • Most employers prefer to hire Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT). These are people with an associate degree through an accredited community or junior college who take the AHIMA exam (American Health Information Management Association). RHIT certification comes with a passing grade.

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