Medical Record Technicians
Although about 34 percent of the 215,500 medical record technicians employed in the United States work in hospitals, many work in other health care settings, including health maintenance organizations (HMOs), industrial clinics, skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers, large group medical practices, ambulatory care centers, and state and local government health agencies. Technicians also work for computer firms, consulting firms, and government agencies. Records are maintained in all these facilities, although record-keeping procedures vary.
Not all medical record technicians are employed in a single health care facility; some serve as consultants to several small facilities. Other technicians do not work in health care settings at all. They may be employed by health and property liability insurance companies to collect and review information on medical claims. A few are self-employed, providing medical transcription services.
Most successful medical record technicians are graduates of two-year accredited programs. Graduates of these programs should check with their schools' career services offices for job leads. You may also apply directly to the personnel departments of hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, and surgery centers. Many job openings are also listed in the classified advertising sections of local newspapers and with private and public employment agencies.
Medical record technicians may be able to achieve some advancement and salary increase without additional training simply by taking on greater responsibility in their job function. With experience, technicians may move to supervisory or department head positions, depending on the type and structure of the employing organization. Another means of advancing is through specialization in a certain area of the job. Some technicians specialize in coding, particularly Medicare coding or tumor registry. With a broad range of experience, a medical record technician may be able to become an independent consultant. Generally, technicians with an associate's degree and the RHIT designation are most likely to advance.
More assured job advancement and salary increase come with the completion of a bachelor's degree in medical record administration. The bachelor's degree, along with AHIMA accreditation, makes the technician eligible for a supervisory position, such as department director. Because of a general shortage of medical record administrators, hospitals often assist technicians who are working toward a bachelor's degree by providing flexible scheduling and financial aid or tuition reimbursement.
Tips for Entry
Read Advance for Health Information Professionals (https://www.elitecme.com/resource-center/health-information-professionals) and Healthcare Business Monthly (https://www.aapc.com/resources/publications/healthcare-business-monthly) to learn more about the field.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Join professional associations such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) to access training and networking resources, certification, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Attend AHIMA's annual convention to network, learn about potential employers, and develop your professional skills via continuing education classes.
Visit the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's website, https://www.usajobs.gov, for information on medical record technicians jobs with the federal government.