Site Meter Hackers™: Medical Records Jobs Exploding In Popularity


Medical Records Jobs Exploding In Popularity

In July 2010, the Obama administration released a five-year plan to convert healthcare providers and hospitals from paper to electronic medical records. Benefits include lower costs, streamlined service, and increased safety. Under the plan, providers who do not comply by 2015 face fines and reduction in Medicare payments. This paved the way for medical records jobs to take off in popularity, which they definitely have.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that jobs in this field will grow by 20 percent from 2008 to 2018. Providers and hospitals who do not make the conversion to electronic medical records will find it more difficult, and more expensive, to get claims approved. This fact alone puts the career of the medical record technician in the spotlight. Skilled professionals are needed to tailor and install software, map the conversion process, and train medical staff to use the new systems.

Technicians bear the responsibility of organizing patient health records in an electronic format. This includes details regarding demographics, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, testing, exams, and prescriptions. They oversee entry of this information into software and ensure that it is accessible, complete, accurate, and secure. Doing this requires excellent organization skills, knowledge of electronic medical records software, and familiarity with medical terminology.

These individuals are finding jobs in primary care and specialist practices, hospitals, health departments, and clinics. Ultimately, they are responsible for making sure that the electronic health records are accurate and complete and that medical staff and providers know how to use the software. Communication with healthcare providers and medical staff is required for clarification regarding diagnosis, conditions, treatment, tests, medication, and related aspects.

Obtaining a certificate in health information technology is the most common way to obtain the fundamental knowledge required to perform this job. Community colleges offer this and are now beginning to offer associate’s degrees in the field. As electronic medical records software evolves due to new technology, so will the role of the technician. This requires that individuals in this role keep abreast of technology and regulatory requirements within the healthcare industry. Continued learning is expected, as this career is relatively new and is expected to change as we near the deadline for compliance. 

At this point, certification is not mandatory for medical record technicians but many employers prefer candidates who have it. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers the certification considered the most relevant, the RHIT- Registered Health Information Technician. Individuals must have graduated from a two-year education program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). They also must pass an exam administered by AHIMA.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that medical records jobs pay an average of $30,610 annually, with the typical range being $20,440 to over $50,000 annually. Individuals performing a relevant role for the federal government command the highest annual salary but hospitals and nursing homes are other top payers. This career is one that allows individuals to work within the healthcare industry without having direct exposure to patients.

By: Conrad Wysor