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How do I Become a Medical Records Technician?

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  • Written By: K T Solis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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It is the medical records technicians' job to organize and evaluate patient medical records. They ensure that a patient's medical chart is complete and accurate. They often speak with doctors and other medical personnel to receive or clarify additional information for the patient's medical files. This information is also entered into the patient's computer file. Those who pay attention to detail and are comfortable with using computers will perform well as a medical records technician; however, they will often be required to complete a two-year associate degree program.

Such programs are offered at community or technical colleges. The students will take courses in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, medical coding, computers, general education courses, and other classes that will help them in their future careers as medical records technicians. After training, the student is eligible to take the exam to become a registered health information technician (RHIT). Many hospitals require this particular accreditation, and it can lead to promotions within the medical facility. Graduates of a medical records technician program can consult with their school's career office in order to assist them with the job search.

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Each time a patient receives care from a medical professional, detailed records are kept of each interaction. Test results, prescriptions, diagnoses, treatments, medical histories, and lists of symptoms are all carefully recorded in the patient's chart. The medical records technician must be skilled at organizing this information, making sure important forms are signed and crucial patient information is entered into the computer system. The technician must assign codes for each diagnosis or medical treatment, tracking how much health insurance companies must reimburse the hospital or doctor for specific medical treatments.

The information that a medical records technician collects is kept on file for insurance purposes or if the patient returns to the facility for further treatment. Sometimes the technicians will collect information on the types of diseases the facility has treated. This data can be used by scientists and doctors as they conduct research.

Medical records technicians work at hospitals, doctors' offices, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, and home healthcare providers. Large facilities will employ technicians who specialize in one aspect of health care while smaller departments will hire an experienced technician that can supervise the entire medical records department. Most technicians typically work 40 hours a week. Technicians who are employed in hospitals may be required to work evenings and weekends. They often work in an office environment and rarely work directly with patients.

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