A registered health information technician is a trained, certified health-care worker who specializes in managing medical records. A professional uses computer software to log new patient information, transcribe charts made by doctors and nurses, and organize payment plans. In addition, he or she tries to identify ways that medical records databases can be improved to lower costs and make information more accessible. A registered health information technician might work at a general hospital, surgical center, private doctor's office, or an insurance company.
Skilled technicians help all members of a health-care team stay on the same page so they can provide the best possible patient services. When new patients are admitted, a registered health information technician collects data about their ailments, medical and family history, allergies, and insurance status. He or she can print out patient charts so doctors can get to work right away. After a physician takes notes about symptoms, diagnostic procedures, and test results, they are given to the health information technician to be transcribed into an official medical record.
A registered health information technician with the appropriate training can translate diagnoses and treatments into universal codes that can be accessed by other hospitals and insurance companies. He or she may send coded data directly to a patient's insurance provider to file a claim. Since even the smallest mistakes in coding can mean the difference between a patient being denied or accepted coverage, it is important for a technician to be highly organized, alert, and detail-oriented when filing claims.
The requirements to become a registered health information technician can vary. Most employers prefer to hire technicians who have completed education programs at community colleges, technical schools, or allied health centers. School programs can take between six months and two years to complete and provide students with both classroom education and hands-on training. In order to earn certification, a person typically needs to pass a written exam administered by a national governing board. In the United States, the American Health Information Management Association provides credentials to successful test-takers.
Pursuing additional certification in medical billing and coding can further improve a person's chances of finding entry-level work. After finding a job, a new professional can expect to spend several weeks in training to learn about specific hospital policies and procedures. With experience and continuing education, a technician may be able to take on a supervisory role or another administrative health-care position.