Medical records analysts play an important role in the interpretation of medical records data. Employment for medical records and health information technicians, under which medical records analysts fall, is projected to grow 13% by the year 2026. The job is essential because the information pulled from these records helps institutions provide quality patient care.
Medical records analysts perform many tasks within a healthcare setting. They can check operational trends and performance based on the data models the analyst constructs. An employer may expect an analyst to draw conclusions based on the information gathered from the records.
The roles of a medical records analysts are diverse and vital. Here are more details about what to expect from a medical records analyst.
Roles of a Medical Records Analyst
This analyst is typically responsible for many functions related to record management. The job usually involves compiling, processing, and maintaining medical records. These records include those of the hospital and the patients.
How the analyst handles the records must be in line with administrative and medical requirements. The procedures must also follow the legal, regulatory, and ethical rules that govern healthcare. There's also a medical coding system that the analysts must heed in processing the data.
More specifically, a medical records analyst is responsible for:
a) Gathering Information
A record analyst gets data through observation, and through receiving it from relevant sources. They pull out data that helps them to develop statistical reports and models.
b) Processing Information
Once they have the data they need, medical records analysts compile, code, and categorize it. They typically calculate, audit, verify, and organize the information. They also have to review the records for accuracy and completeness.
A records analyst will usually also interpret billing, payments, and other information. They will then generate reports of the activities, and send those reports to the management for review.
c) Recording or Documenting Information
Another role of a medical records analyst is to enter or record the information they process. Sometimes, their work entails transcribing audio data into a written and electronic version.
d) Computer Use in Information Processing
At one point or another, a record analyst typically uses computer hardware and software. Some types of software are essential in processing information. In addition, electronic healthcare records (EHR) are increasingly being used across all healthcare organizations.
They have played a significant role in digitalizing medical charting. By using them, professionals can access digital versions of patient histories and charts. Electrical Healthcare Records fall into four subcategories;
- Patient portals that collect patient's information in one place
- Scheduling that allows patients to manage their schedule
- Medical billing
- ePrescribing that enables doctors to send prescriptions to the pharmacy
This software helps to enable a record analyst to analyze the accurateness of patients' records.
An analyst can also use a computer to set up functions that ease the delivery of services. They can also write software specific to the medical field if they have the expertise.
Since they're charged with the development of data management strategies, they typically need to create test scenarios. This means that the EHR systems should be subjected to testing and the results should be evaluated.
Medical records analysts can also prepare complete charts about therapies and treatments the patient has received. The doctors refer to the charts to provide more informed treatment. These analysts also typically upload data into the computer systems.
e) Organize, Plan, and Prioritize Work
After evaluating medical records, the analyst will likely aim to make processes more efficient. They can identify loopholes that create red tapes in the system. Through their skills, they can develop specific plans aimed at organizing work.
f) Communication with Team Members
It's typically the role of the records analyst to provide feedback to the team. This includes the supervisors, peers, and subordinates. They should know about the shortcoming and loopholes in the information systems.
The analyst can usually provide the information through email, in written form, or on the phone.
Analyzing and evaluating data is not always helpful if it does not improve data handling in the system. Efficiency is enhanced when there's feedback on what's working and what's not. It's also usually essential to ensure that the feedback is being implemented.
Other notable people to communicate with are people outside the organization. They include representatives of the organization, the customers, and even the public government depending on the situation.
g) Evaluating Information
The purpose is to establish if the data complies with healthcare system standards. It's expected that an analyst will use their judgment and relevant information to do so. The process of data handling by employees in the system should be according to the law.
During the evaluation, an analyst should identify the underlying reasons and principles for the data. The best way to achieve this is to break down the data into separate pieces of information.
Proper analysis is essential in the identification of actions, events, and objects. Adequate categorization of the information enables the recognition of the similarities or differences. It's also through this process that the analyst can detect changes in circumstances.
h) Administrative Activities
A medical records analyst typically has administrative duties. These include maintaining information files and processing paperwork. After evaluation, the analyst may also make decisions and find solutions.
Other administrative tasks include monitoring the processes, surroundings, and materials in data handling. The analyst may also review information from events, materials, or the environment to assess problems.
To achieve these goals, creative thinking is often essential. There is a need to develop, design, or create new ideas, applications, systems, or relationships.
Medical records analysts also typically work towards building and developing teams. Within the groups, there must be respect, mutual trust, and cooperation. It's only when teams work on such a level that data handling and management becomes efficient.
i) Training and Teaching
Through data evaluation, the analyst can help identify the educational needs of the team. As such, he can create formal training or educational programs to teach or guide the teams. Through training, the analyst can make members work together.
By teaching them the importance of coordination, they'll always strive to work as a team.
What It Takes to Become a Medical Records Analyst
If you're considering a career as a medical records analyst, you need training. Many health information technicians begin with a degree from a vocational school. In the degree program, you'll likely learn about the medical office procedures, terminology, and coding.
Some academic options that can qualify you for the course include medical office management and medical coding. Others are medical record technology programs. You also need to have time management skills.
You’re more likely to do well in this career if you have an aptitude for detailed information and numbers. Working with computers and software technologies is vital in most health institutions.
Employers typically look for suitable employees who have a certification in health information technology. You must have a degree to sit for this certification, among other eligibility requirements.
Other closely related certifications include Certified Documentation Improvement Practitioner and Health Data Analyst.
A medical records analyst usually needs strong communication skills. It's better for them if they can work independently. Teamwork can also count towards being successful in the job.
Employers prefer to hire record analysts with a bachelor's degree in health information management. Healthcare-related qualifications also count towards certification.
They can also consider holders of business administration or information technology degrees. You might also need to have five years' experience in records management.
It's also crucial to be familiar with Electronic Health Records and other related systems. Data collection, understanding of computer software, and system productions are also essential skills.
Medical Records Analyst – Final Thoughts
Becoming a medical records analyst comes with its fair share of responsibilities. Apart from ensuring that the information adheres to regulations, it also must be scrutinized for errors. A records analyst controls a lot that goes on in the healthcare system.
The responsibilities extend beyond gathering and processing evaluation. They include identifying software suitable for electronic medical records. Proper implementation of the software also requires training the medical team on its use.
Records analyst typically play a supervisory role, as well. They may help ensure that the whole team handles data without errors. Teaching and training the staff on the use of the software is often a crucial part of the process.
If you want to get a position as a medical records analyst, ensure you have the right qualifications. A bachelor's degree in one of the health-related disciplines is not enough. You need to complement it with the necessary certifications.
Are you a student interested in medical careers? You can explore UMA to learn more about the school’s online and Clearwater campus programs.