How To Become A Medical Records Technician
Medical records technicians are an important part of the healthcare field. They help organize and manage health information data. They input electronic patient data. They check for quality, accuracy, and security in electronic health systems. Medical records technicians need a certificate in their line of work, or they may also pursue an associate’s degree, in order to earn a job in this field.
Why Become A Medical Records Technician
Medical records technicians have a wide variety of duties. They work in an office environment. They perform most of their tasks in front of a computer. A medical records technician reviews patient records for accuracy, completeness, and appropriateness of the data within. They organize and maintain data in a clinical database, usually a hospital or physician office.
A medical records technician uses classification software systems to assign codes for insurance reimbursement. They electronically record data for college, storage, and analysis. They document all of a patient’s health information, including medical history, symptoms, test results, treatments, and more. This information is kept in electronic health records (EHR) software where it can be easily accessed by health providers who need the information.
Technology has changed the healthcare system. It has enabled healthcare providers to organize the information of their patients more efficiently, access this information more quickly, and keep information more confidential. Medical records technicians play an important role in maintaining this information.
This is a good career for somebody who enjoys the healthcare industry, is good with computers, and is highly detail oriented.
Medical Records Technicians should possess the following qualities and skills:
- Enjoys Medicine
- Enjoys Working with Computers
- Detail Oriented
- Good Communicator
- Technical Skills
Medical Records Technician Work Environment
Most medical records technicians work for hospitals. Hospitals are large facilities that have expansive medical record collections, and therefore these are the places that hire teams of medical record technicians in order to organize and maintain these collections. Many other medical records technicians work in physician offices, or in nursing facilities. They work in an office environment.
They typically spend many hours a day sitting in front of a computer, organizing medical records and inputting data. This is a job that involves working alone and does not require contact with patients. Technicians must be good at using computers. A medical records technician must be observant and have a great attention to detail. Most medical records technicians work full time, regular hours. Because hospitals are open all of the time, some technicians may work overnight or weekend hours.
Medical Records Technician Salary
The median annual salary for medical records technicians was $39,000 in 2017, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are many factors that go into determining what kind of salary a person will have. One such factor is the type of facility a person chooses to work in. Those who worked in physician offices earned a median salary of $34,000 in 2017.
On the other hand, those who worked in hospitals earned an annual salary of $42,000 in 2017. There is a great variety in what people can make in this profession, depending on where they choose to work. Additional experience and education will help people to earn additional wages in this profession.
Average Medical Records Technician Annual Salary
The average annual salary for medical records technicians is $42,820 a year. Salaries start at $25,810 a year and go up to $64,610 a year.
Average Medical Records Technician Hourly Wage
The average hourly wage for a medical records technician is $20.59. Hourly wages are between $12.41 and $31.06 an hour.
Stats were based out of 204,220 employed medical records technicians in the United States.
Highest Paying States For Medical Records Technicians
- 1. New Jersey $27.92 / hr $58,080 / yr
- 2. Alaska $26.04 / hr $54,170 / yr
- 3. California $24.17 / hr $50,260 / yr
- 4. District of Columbia $24.07 / hr $50,070 / yr
- 5. Maryland $23.75 / hr $49,390 / yr
Top Paying Cities For Medical Records Technicians
- 1. San Jose, CA $32.06 / hr$66,690 / yr
- 2. Newark, NJ $28.45 / hr$59,170 / yr
- 3. Salinas, CA $28.34 / hr$58,950 / yr
- 4. Naples, FL $28.06 / hr$58,370 / yr
- 5. Trenton, NJ $27.06 / hr$56,280 / yr
Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Medical Records Technician Career Outlook
Employment for medical records technicians is expected to increase by 13 percent from 2016 to 2026. This is a much faster rate of growth compared to other professions within the United States. This will result in about 28,000 jobs being created in this sector over this 10 year period.
Technology has done much to advance the healthcare industry. One of the ways technology has helped shape healthcare is by restructuring the way that health records and other information is organized and maintained. This has helped healthcare providers be able to access information more quickly, edit information, organize it better, and provide better patient care. Medical records technicians will be needed in the future to help maintain these expansive collections of electronic health records.
Medical Records Technician Degree
After completing high school, a person who wants to become a medical records technician will need to complete a certificate in this field. There are many vocational schools, community colleges, and online programs that offer certificates for medical records technicians. These programs can typically be completed in less than a year. For those who need something flexible, these are great programs. Many programs can be completed on campus or in online classes; during daytime or nighttime classes; or students may be able to take classes part-time.
Alternatively, some people choose to attend a community college and seek out an associate’s degree. Some colleges offer an associate’s degree to become a medical records technician.
Medical Records Technician Coursework
Below we have listed some of the classes you can expect to take during a typical medical records degree certification program.
Anatomy and Physiology: In this course students learn all about human body structure and function. Students acquire core knowledge of the components of each bodily system and how they work together. Topics include cell structure and functions of all major systems of the human body. The connections and relationships among these systems are studied. Emphasis on the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and reproductive systems is paid attention to. Laboratory work is also part of the class.
Medical Coding: This course provides an overview of medical records practices in hospitals and healthcare offices. Students learn current clinical classification systems and procedural terminology. They code procedures performed by healthcare providers. Students assign procedure codes and apply guidelines to case examples. They study the purpose and use of the coding system within healthcare. They learn filing and retrieval, record processing, and analysis. They will work on mock scenarios that they may encounter with physicians or at a hospital. They will learn about confidentiality and release of information.
Medical Terminology: This class is important for anybody working in the healthcare field. Students will learn essential terminology related to the parts of the body, various diseases and ailments, equipment used, and other terms that are frequently used in the medical field. In this course, students explore the systems of the human body, including the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, reproductive, nervous systems and more. They learn how they relate to each other. They learn the most common diseases and disorders affecting these systems of the body. The treatments for these diseases and disorders are discussed.
Medical Records Technician Career Path
There are many routes that medical records technicians can take, as this is a great entry level career. Below we have outlined just one potential career path for medical records technicians.
|Health Services Manager||This involves managing an entire facility, a specific clinical area or department, or a medical practice for a group of physicians.||Their responsibilities include planning, directing, and coordinating medical and health services.||A bachelor’s degree in a healthcare related field is required.||This is a great profession for people who want more of a managerial position.|
Related Medical Records Technician Careers
Medical Transcriptionist: A medical transcriptionist takes voice recordings and converts them into written reports. These include patient medical histories, prescriptions, discharge summaries, and other documents in the healthcare industry.
Medical Assistant: A medical assistant carries out both administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians and hospitals. They may take blood pressure, weight, height, other vital signs, and check over medical history. They may also be responsible for answering phones, making appointments, and medical billing.
Pharmacy Technician: A pharmacy technician works in a pharmacy, assisting with filling prescriptions, handling orders, labeling and packaging, answering phones and more.