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Health information technicians track, analyze, and record medical information. They ensure confidentiality for patients and physicians, along with accurate reporting for diagnosis and treatment information.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects strong employment growth for medical records specialists, health information technologists, and medical registrars from 2021-2031, which bodes well for individuals entering the field.
Because health information technology incorporates aspects of technology and healthcare, working as a health information technician can appeal to individuals interested in computers, medicine, and business. Discover helpful information about the profession with this guide.
What Is the Job Description of a Health Information Technician?
Health information technicians manage patient health information. They work in clinical and nonclinical settings to keep patient records safe. They also ensure quality control, compliance, and efficiency in medical record maintenance and distribution.
Health information technicians perform duties comparable to other technologists but work exclusively with medical information. As a result, health information technicians are well-versed in medical terms and codes used in electronic health record technologies.
Typically, health information technicians possess certificates or associate degrees in health information technology. Experience and knowledge of multiple electronic health records systems can also benefit these professionals. Many companies prefer individuals with registered health information technician certifications from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
What Does a Health Information Technician Do?
Health information technicians typically work in office settings alongside doctors, nurses, managers, and administrative staff. They may also take on roles with insurance companies or government agencies. Health information technicians spend most of their time using computers to enter and retrieve medical information.
Their work requires attention to detail, thoroughness, and timeliness. As individuals who oversee confidential and sensitive patient data, health information technicians need to follow applicable policies, regulations, and laws related to the field.
Find out more about the specific duties and responsibilities of a health information technician below.
Health information technicians must know laws regarding healthcare information, especially the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. They communicate with healthcare providers about patient information to clarify diagnoses and treatments while maintaining privacy.
Health information technicians collect and verify patient information entered into databases. They track and update databases along with performing audits to identify data discrepancies, gaps in information, or inefficiencies in record-keeping practices.
To record accurate medical diagnoses, treatments, and other relevant information, health information technicians communicate with doctors, nurses, and providers. These professionals may also copy, scan, and file paper documents.
Health information technicians often process patient data for reimbursement purposes. This responsibility may involve communication with insurance companies as well as providers. Another aspect of data processing involves creating reports based on regular evaluations of health information processes and systems.
Responding to Record Requests
Health information technicians handle requests for patient information from outside entities and ensure efficient, confidential exchanges of medical records. They provide records to doctors and nurses, inquire about records from outside sources, and track access to information.
The Day to Day for a Health Information Technician
A day in the life of a health information technician involves communicating with healthcare providers, patients, and external agencies about medical records. Once doctors and nurses see patients, health information technicians assess diagnosis and treatment plans to gain clarity and ensure accuracy.
Health information technicians enter applicable information into electronic health record systems to record and secure data. The day to day work of a health information technician may also include administrative and office duties, sending record requests, contacting patients, and interacting with insurance companies.
These professionals spend a significant amount of time using computers. Typically, health information technologists work standard business hours, but individuals at healthcare facilities providing 24-hour care may have to work less conventional hours.
Depending on the workplace, health information technicians may participate in weekly, monthly, or annual audits for health information policies and procedures.
Where Do Health Information Technicians Work?
According to the BLS, the states that employ the most health information workers include Texas, California, Florida, and New York, four out of the five most populous states in the country. The top cities mirror state data, with the Los Angeles and New York City metropolitan areas employing the most nationwide.
Most health information technicians work in hospitals, physician's offices, and other healthcare facilities. Public and private hospitals employ health information workers, but they may also find positions within specialty care facilities, technical and scientific consulting companies, or government agencies.
Work setting can also influence professional responsibilities. In hospital settings, health information technicians likely work with providers throughout the facility. In a medical office, they only interact with other employees at that establishment.
FAQ About Health Information Technicians
How much does a health information technician make?
According to Payscale, the average base salary for a health information technician in January 2023 was around $40,000.
How do you become a health information technician?
You can become a health information technician by earning a certificate or associate degree in information technology or health information technology. Many employers prefer to hire registered health information technicians certified through AHIMA.
What do health information technicians do?
Health information technicians collect, record, and manage patient records. These professionals communicate with healthcare providers to ensure accurate, efficient, and secure record-keeping.
Is health information a stressful career?
Depending on the environment, health information careers may be stressful. In a fast-paced hospital, exchanging information may require timeliness and rapid turnarounds of accurate records.
Page last reviewed on Jan 13, 2023
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