Health Information Clerk: Job Description & Requirements

It is the responsibility of a health information clerk to update and maintain a patient's health records. Health information clerks may work in large hospitals, clinics or for a private-practice doctor. Read further to learn more details of this profession.

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Career Definition

Also known as health information technicians, these professionals organize and maintain health data in electronic and paper systems within various healthcare settings. They are responsible for reviewing patient records, organizing databases, tracking patient outcomes and protecting patients' health information. These professionals work in hospitals, physicians' offices, residential care facilities and government agencies.

How to Become a Health Information Clerk

Required Education

With continued growth in the healthcare field, programs in health information and medical record keeping are becoming more widely available at community and vocational colleges. An associate's degree in either of these fields will typically qualify you for employment as a health information clerk; however, a growing number of employers prefer to hire health information clerks who are registered. Becoming registered requires passing a written examination overseen by the American Health Information Management Association. Only graduates of accredited 2-year programs are allowed to sit for this exam.

Required Skills

The work of a health information clerk requires a great deal of multi-tasking. Strong organizational and computer skills are also needed as most records are now kept electronically. A successful health information clerk must be willing to keep up-to-date on all state and federal laws regulating patient privacy and work as a team member with other office and medical personnel.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) projects a much faster than average growth rate of 22% for medical records and health information technicians from 2012-2022 and adds that health information clerks with experience in medical coding are especially desirable. In May 2012, the average annual income for hospital-based medical records and health information technicians, including health information clerks, was $38,860, according to BLS statistics. Those working in physicians' offices earned an average annual salary of $31,290, per the BLS.

Alternate Career Options

Medical Transcriptionist

These transcriptionists, who listen to voice recordings of healthcare providers and convert them into writing, normally earn postsecondary certificates in the field to secure employment. An average employment growth of 8% was projected by the BLS, from 2012-2022, for this career that offered an annual median wage of $34,020 in 2012.

Medical and Health Services Manager

Needing a minimum of a bachelor's degree in health administration, these managers, executives or administrators plan and direct the health services in facilities, medical practices or specific clinical departments. The BLS reported an annual median salary of $88,580 in 2012 for this profession and predicted much faster than average job growth of 23% through 2022.

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