Being a medical records technician (MRT) is one the considered less stressful jobs in the field of medicine. This job is perfect for those who prefer not to have any interaction with patients. The job of medical records technician is very important as their work involves maintaining and keeping records of patients’ medical history; these records provide vital information that can be used in disease diagnosis and treatment of patients.
All patients that go to the hospital have medical records. When available, doctors review the information on a patient’s medical record and add more data during consultation. Some of the information that can be found in medical records include symptoms, possible, diagnoses, and follow-up actions, including additional tests of prescription of medicine.
After consultation, the medical records technician or health information technician transforms the data provided by the doctors into permanent medical record. Such data should be accurate and updated in order to provide the patient with appropriate treatment if necessary. Thus, medical records technician should have good attention to detail and responsibly enough in managing patients’ information.
Bulk of the work of medical records technicians includes transformation of paper-based medical records into electronic data. Given increasing complexity, MRTs may face a bit of a challenge regarding computer access, privacy and security, analytics, reimbursement, quality, and improvement of clinical documentation. However, the industry for MRTs is expected to increase in the future.
MRTs also work in hospitals. Aside from taking care of medical records, they may also be involved with scanning and indexing of paper documents and their transformation to electronic form. They also collaborate with physicians and clinicians to prevent discrepancies or deficiencies on medical records of patients.
MRTs are also adept in coding diagnosis and procedures depending on care provided to a patient. This skill is important in reimbursement of medical services. In addition, coding is quite significant in research and registries for data reports and trends.
Aside from hospitals, MRTs may also work in insurance companies, software vendors, physician practices, pharmaceutical companies, rehabilitation centers, home healthcare agencies, nursing homes, and government agencies.
The job of MRT requires completion of a two-year associate degree program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management.
High school students will easily become MRTs if they have interests in science subjects, such as biology and human health, and fields of computer technology and math. Some available online courses provide assistance to students who aspire to be MRTs.
There are various college programs for being an MRT though the names of courses may vary a little. The courses included in MRT programs focus on medical coding systems, database management and security, data analysis, and insurance industry practices.
MRTs are also allowed to specialize in certain fields. For example, medical transcription involves transcription of doctors’ spoken notes into computer. In cancer registry, the MRT must record details of cancer types and related treatments. Such specializations may be taken up while people are in college or when they are already working. Meanwhile, the American Health Information Management Association offer certification programs and training resources for those who aspire to become MRTs.
During applications, employers will likely prefer registered or certified MRTs. Certification for being a Registered Health Information Technicians can be acquired after passing the exam administered by AHIMA. This type of credential also increases opportunity of MRTs to earn higher salaries, form connections with other MRTs, and gain chance in lifelong learning.
AHIMA also offers certification for coding (CCS/CCS-P), health care privacy and security (CHPS), tumor registry (CTR), health data analysis (CHDA), and HER Credentialing.
SKILLS AND QUALITIES
The primary requirements for being MRTs include attention to detail and remarkable organizational skills. MRTs should also possess ethical integrity because they will be handling confidential information. Thus, they are expected to be quiet about patients’ information and will not share any details that can compromise privacy of patients. There should also be appropriate discretion when MRTs communicate with medical or business staff.
The work of MRTs may sometimes be busy but during such moment, they must remain focused on their work.
RHIT certification from AHIMA requires 20 h of continuing education every 2 years. These trainings benefit MRTs as they are provided with more training and they become more qualified to work in large medical settings.
Salary of MRTs differ depending on their experience and geographical location. Their salary may range from $24,190 or $61,400 depending on annual median. The more experienced ones can expect higher salaries, whereas government may offer higher pay than private institutions.
The demand for MRTs is expected to increase in the coming years.