A medical records technician helps healthcare agencies organize, manage, and store their patients’ private health information. In this article, we will dive a little further into what this means, the types of duties performed in this position, as well as training and schooling requirements and options. We’ll also talk about jobs available in this role and how to become a medical records technician should you decide to pursue this entry-level healthcare role.
What Is a Medical Records Technician?
Medical records technicians—sometimes referred to as health information technicians or health information specialists—assist medical offices and other healthcare agencies with the management and organization of patient health information. This role is administrative, making it unlike healthcare positions that involve working directly with patients to diagnose, treat, and/or manage their healthcare issues. A medical records technician is more behind the scenes, handling the input, organization, and storage of patient information within the organization’s record-keeping system.
What Does a Medical Records Tech Do?
Medical records techs have a variety of job functions. Among them are:
- Recording a patient’s medical information, such as inputting the correct classification codes for their diagnoses, testing procedures, and treatments
- Reviewing patient records to ensure that they are complete and accurate
- Organizing patient information in clinical databases and/or patient registries
- Protecting the patients’ privacy via safe medical record storage strategies
Performing these functions often entails working within electronic health record (EHR) systems15. EHRs are digital versions of a patient’s medical chart. This record can include the patient’s medical history, any diagnostic testing, their diagnoses, the medications they’re taking, their treatment plan, lab results, and more16.
Medical Records Technician Training
Some healthcare agencies hire medical records technicians with a high school diploma (or an equivalent) but most require a certain level of postsecondary education in health information management7. This education helps provide the knowledge and skillsets needed to work in the role of a medical records technician.
If your career goals are to advance to a management position in medical records or health information, earning your bachelor’s or master’s degree may be required. Each facility sets its own training and educational requirements.
Medical Records Technician Schools
Enrolling in a school that offers a health information management or health information technology degree program can help you obtain education in areas that a medical records technician would need to know.
For example, Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) offers a Health Information Management Associate Degree. This program includes courses such as International Classification of Diseases (ICD) Coding II and Introduction to Computer Office Productivity Applications.
Medical records technician career training can vary in the length of the program, the courses taught, the degree and/or certifications available after graduation (associate, bachelor’s, master’s, etc.), and more. Therefore, it’s important to fully research the schools and the programs they offer so the one you select can help you achieve your specific career-related goals.
Medical Records Technician Jobs
Do an online search of medical records technician jobs, and you will likely notice that they have many potential job titles. A few job titles beyond that of “Medical Records Technician” include:
- Health Information Technician
- Health Information Management Technician
- Medical Records Specialist
These titles can also change based on the type of employer (hospital versus lab, for example), as well as the specific type of patients that a healthcare agency sees (older adults vs newborns, or patients needing eyeglasses versus those who are seeing a doctor due to reproductive concerns). For instance, some facilities hire Donor Center Technicians.
When looking for a medical records technician job online, it may be helpful to search for a few different keywords as each one may return slightly different results.
How To Become A Medical Records Technician
If you want to work as a medical records technician, there are a few different ways you can go about it. One is to decide where you want to work, then research what type of training and/or education that facility requires from its job applicants.
The second is to enroll in a health information management course, graduate, then look for a job in which you meet the requirements. Again, these requirements could include earning a certain level of degree (associate, bachelor’s, or master’s).
Certification is also typically a requirement to work in this type of role7. Certifications available in the medical records and health information field for those who meet eligibility requirements include:
- Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)
- Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS)
- Certified Coding Associate (CCA)
You can also obtain certification in more specialized medical records positions. As an example, you could earn your certification as a Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR), which is a medical records technician working in the cancer field17.
Contact UMA Today to Learn More
If you are interested in working as a medical records technician, contact Ultimate Medical Academy today to learn more about our Health Information Management Associate Degree. This program can be completed in 18 months9.
The Health Information Management Associate of Science program is programmatically accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). CAHIIM accreditation signifies that a program has voluntarily undergone a rigorous review process and has been determined to meet or exceed the standards set by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
Contact us today to learn more!
- How do you become a medical records technician? The requirements to work as a medical records technician can vary from one healthcare facility to another. Some require that you have your high school diploma and others require postsecondary education and/or certification7.
- How long does it take to become a medical records technician? The length of time it takes to work as a medical records technician can change based on the requirements of your employer. It can also change depending on whether a degree is required. UMA’s Health Information Management Associate Degree program can be completed in 18 months9.
- What is the job description of a medical records technician? Duties required in a medical records technician role include organizing, storing, and retrieving patient health information; reviewing patient records for accuracy; inputting patient information in an electronic health record (EHR) system, and more.
- Where do medical records technicians work? Several types of healthcare facilities employ medical records technicians, some of which include doctors’ offices, hospitals, insurance companies, and health technology companies.
- What are common job titles for medical technician positions? Other than Medical Records Technician, you can also find these roles listed under titles such as Health Information Technician, Health Information Specialist, Health Information Management Technician, and more.