Medical Records Technician Job Profile

A medical records technician (MRT) maintains medical records for doctors. MRTs record information after proper verification by using hospitals' and clinics' codes and indices for various diagnoses, operations and special therapies.

MRTs can become specialists in coding patients' medical data for reimbursement purposes. Such MRTs are called medical coders or coding specialists. Some MRTs specialize in cancer registry and are called cancer or tumor registrars; they maintain regional or national databases of cancer patients.

Tasks

  • Prepares a standard method for classifying various diseases and operations or therapies and other medical practices.
  • Enters new data after collecting information including the medical history, symptoms, examination results, diagnosis tests, treatment methods and other medical care services of a patient.
  • Files the completed data and has the ability to retrieve the required data in the directed format.
  • Usually obtains clarification from other health-care professionals, including the concerned and appropriate physician.
  • Performs a complete analysis of the medical records of patients undergoing treatment to find any deviations from the standards laid down by pertinent government agencies.
  • Maintains the master database of patients' records.
  • Maintains the stock of the stationery required for these administrative tasks and obligations.
  • Transcribes audio taped or videotaped dictations of medical cases.
  • May prepare tabular reports for statistical survey of master data.

Educational Requirements

Usually, an associate's degree is expected by most of employers, but even people without a college degree but with basic mathematical skills can slide smoothly into this role if they possess the following:

  • Knowledge of medical terms, principles and practices used for health-information record systems.
  • Knowledge of standard methods of indexing, coding and classifying medical records.
  • Basic knowledge of office administration and correspondence.
  • Ability to review records and verify their completeness and accuracy.
  • Ability to read and understand the procedure used for medical records' release.
  • Knowledge of computers for data entry and summary. In recent times, many hospitals have started using Electronic Health Records (EHR) for recording purposes, so MRTs should have knowledge of the EHR computer software and its security issues.
  • Ability to act as a liaison with government agencies, insurance companies and other team members.

Certifications

There are some credentials available for MRTs, but they vary considerably from region to region. For that reason and because this occupation is known by several different titles, it is important that you make sure you are seeking the right certification. You do not want to study for something that is not what interested you in the first place. Most hospitals and health-care organizations require potential MRTs to seek regular re-certification and continuing education. The Registered Health Information Technician credential is required by some employers.

Work Environment

MRTs are primarily employed in hospitals and doctors' clinics and offices. This is one job in the medical field with no direct patient handling. A typical work schedule is 40 hours a week.

Career Advancement

MRTs can become health-information managers after obtaining certification and gathering experience.

Income

The median annual earnings of medical records technicians are $30,160, as per the study conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2009.

Job Prospects

One particularly positive thing about this occupation is that it is expected to increase in popularity much more than the average job. Technicians with computer skills could become more prosperous.