What Does a Medical Records Technician Do?
Medical records technicians keep track of medical procedures at a doctor’s office and relay that information to insurance companies. It requires attention to detail and focus, but the best medical records technicians do it with ease.
These in-demand specialists handle patient data, insurance claims and other forms of physician reimbursement. They investigate which medical procedures are covered by a patient’s insurance. They also work with patients to create payment plans for procedures that aren't covered.
They are sometimes referred to as health information technicians, health information managers, electronic health records technicians or medical records clerks.
Some are specialists, such as medical coders, who go beyond basic coding to ensure patient data is correct, or cancer registrars, who work with cancer patients and pathology.
This career is a good job for someone who wants to work in the medical profession but isn’t sure they have what it takes to work in a medical treatment role. If this sounds like you, read on below about medical records technician requirements, what would make you a good fit for this role and much more.
- Review patient medical history
- Check eligibility and benefits verification
- Prepare and transmit claims using billing software, including electronic and paper claim processing
- Organize and maintain data for clinical databases
- Track patient outcomes for quality assessment
- Follow up on unpaid claims
- Use classification software to assign clinical codes for insurance reimbursement
- Call insurance companies regarding any discrepancy in payments
- Maintain confidentiality of patients’ records
- Set up patient payment plans
How To Become a Medical Records Technician: FAQs
What are typical medical records technician education requirements?
Most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent and either postsecondary education or previous experience. The most common path to this career is earning an associate degree from an accredited health information technology program at a community college. Another path is to complete a certificate program at a technical school.
Both are likely to include courses such as medical terminology, anatomy, health data standards, coding systems, reimbursement methods, statistics and computer systems. Those who want to advance their careers further can earn a bachelor’s degree in health information management.
Are there any other qualifications?
Employers look for job candidates with certification. Two of the most common certifications are Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and Registered Health Information Administration (RHIA). They are both offered through the American Health Information Management Association.
How long does it take to become a medical records technician?
Certificate programs typically last six to nine months. An associate degree program can take anywhere from 15 months to two years.
Where do medical records technicians work?
They work in hospitals, physicians' offices and any type of medical clinic that handles a large volume of patient records.
Is there a demand for this job?
Yes. As with other medical support roles, more technicians will be needed as health centers handle more information. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment growth of 9% from 2020 to 2030 for this career.
What skills or personal qualities would make someone a good fit for this job?
- Excellent communication skills
- Good customer service skills
- Works well in a team environment
- Good problem-solving skills
- Calm under pressure and patient
- Able to multitask
The need to share and store patient information — and keep it confidential — is only going to grow as the population ages. And as technology changes, so will opportunities in this field. If you’re just starting out or you’re switching careers because your industry has changed, the healthcare industry is a smart place to look for your next role. We know health administration roles are in demand. The question is, do you think this is the career for you?