Q:

What are medical records and health information technicians?

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Quick Answer

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical records and health information technicians are people who handle medical records in hospitals and physicians' offices. Their responsibilities include organizing and managing health records and ensuring they are accurate, up to date and secure. They also code the records for use by insurance companies, registries and databases.

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Full Answer

Health information technicians can specialize in their jobs and become either medical coders or cancer registrars. As a medical coder the technician checks patient records for previous medical conditions, retrieves the records for health care workers and works with billing services for the clinicians. A cancer registrar reviews all patient records to ensure that they are complete and accurate, places classification codes in the records to represent treatments or diagnoses of tumors, analyzes patient information for research, maintains databases of cancer patients, and tracks the survival treatment and recovery rates of patients on an annual basis.

In 2012 there were about 186,300 medical records and health information technicians in the country. These technicians had a median annual wage of about $34,160 nationwide. Most employers in the health care industry require that medical records and health information technicians are certified for the job before hiring them.

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