How Do I Become a Registered Health Information Technician?

T. L. Childree
T. L. Childree
An associate's degree is required to become a registered health information technician.
An associate's degree is required to become a registered health information technician.

A registered health information technician is responsible for organizing and entering a patient’s medical information into a secure recordkeeping system. In order to become a registered health information technician, you will need to earn at least an associate’s degree in health information technology from an accredited college or university. In the U.S., you must also pass a certification exam administered by the American Health Information Management Association. After you have become a registered health information technician, you may also want to earn a bachelor’s degree to advance to a management position in this field.

Failure to manage sensitive medical records can result in serious consequences for a healthcare provider.
Failure to manage sensitive medical records can result in serious consequences for a healthcare provider.

The primary duty of a registered health information technician is to ensure that a patient’s medical records are accurately and securely kept. This typically involves using a computer to code and enter these records in a secure electronic storage database. A technician may also be responsible for confirming a patient’s medical history and monitoring possible interactions between prescription medicines. This technician will sometimes confer with physicians to ensure the accuracy of test results and other medical information. A registered health information technician must also make certain that all medical records are kept confidential.

To become a registered health information technician, you will first need to earn an associate’s degree in health information technology. In the U.S., your degree must be from a college or university that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. Health information technology students typically complete courses of study in subjects such as physiology, anatomy, and disease pathology. Recordkeeping courses such as coding, indexing, and management of records will also be taken. Courses in medical terminology and recordkeeping laws may be offered as well.

After receiving your college degree, you must take and pass a certification exam before you can become a registered health information technician. In the U.S., this exam is offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Upon successful completion of this examination, you will be officially certified as a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT). The RHIT exam is comprehensive and covers record coding, health record privacy, information technology, and health care delivery systems. Study materials for this exam can be obtained from the AHIMA.

The AHIMA certification must be renewed every two years, and technicians must complete at least 20 hours of continuing education classes to be eligible for recertification. Once you have become a registered health information technician, you may want to continue your formal education in this field. Technicians with a bachelor’s degree in health information technology can often move into management or specialty positions after gaining practical work experience. AHIMA certifications such as Registered Health Information Management Administrator and Certified Coding Specialist are issued to technicians who meet certain educational and work experience requirements.

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    • An associate's degree is required to become a registered health information technician.
      An associate's degree is required to become a registered health information technician.
    • Failure to manage sensitive medical records can result in serious consequences for a healthcare provider.
      Failure to manage sensitive medical records can result in serious consequences for a healthcare provider.