Medical Records Clerk: Job Description, Salary and Requirements
Medical records clerks may also be known as health information technicians or medical records technicians. An associate's degree and specialized credentials may be earned by these professionals.
Medical records clerks work in healthcare institutions but do not have any interaction with patients. The job is characterized by office work at a fairly normal 40 hours per week pace.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these clerks organize and maintain medical records by collecting information about patients. This information can include test results, diagnoses, exam results, recommended treatments, prior medical history and other relevant data. Medical records clerks must be sure that these records are well-organized, and they should be able to provide quality reports. Security and accuracy of the records is also crucial, as a small mistake could result in a large liability (www.bls.gov).
According to the BLS, the job outlook for medical records and health information technicians is expected to see a 22% increase in openings from 2012-2022 as a result of the aging population and the higher number of medical procedures they'll need. As of May 2013, the average yearly income of medical records and health information technicians was $37,710 (www.bls.gov).
While Salary.com reports some employers do not require medical records clerks to hold more than a high school diploma, the BLS indicates most prefer to hire medical records clerks with an associate's degree and sometimes, additional credentials. Medical records clerks may earn an associate's degree that includes courses in coding systems, healthcare reimbursement, anatomy, physiology and data systems. In addition, several professional organizations offer credential and certification programs (www.bls.gov).
Certification, Credentials and Continuing Education Courses
Medical records clerks may earn professional credentials or certification in health information, coding and cancer registry services. These credentialing programs are typically exam based. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) sponsors the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential. Specialized certification programs and continuing education opportunities are offered by the Professional Association of Health Care Coding Specialists (PAHCS), the Board of Medical Specialty Coding (BMSC), the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA).
Proficiency in computer applications, data security and data analysis are becoming increasingly important to medical clerks and technicians as electronic health records (EHR) become more prevalent. Medical records professionals may complete continuing education sessions to keep their knowledge and skills current to ensure the continued accuracy and quality of medical reports and data.
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