Schools for Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
Medical record and health information technicians organize, file and maintain patient information in a variety of healthcare facilities. Associate degree programs exist through several colleges that qualify students for medical record and health information positions. Optional certification is often preferred by employers and can be obtained from a number of professional organizations.
How to Select a Medical Records and Health Information Technician School
Most programs offer industry-standard courses in coding and records terminology, as well as fundamentals of health information management. Students may choose to further their education to provide career advancement and additional certification options.
Summary of Important Considerations
- Certification preparation
- Program curricula
- Hands-on experience
Certification exhibits a technician's aptitude and proficiency in the field of medical coding and health information. It may also play a large role in career and salary opportunities. Several healthcare organizations, such as the American Health Information Management Association or the National Healthcare Association, offer many levels of credentials for health records specialists and technicians.
While not always a prerequisite for certification, a degree program with sufficient training in the skills covered by certification testing may provide the knowledge and application necessary to earn a Registered Health Information Technician or Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist designation. Courses designed specifically for certification preparation offer a broad range of job-specific topics, and, in some cases, students may test for a credential prior to graduation.
Programs that offer additional coursework in medical knowledge, such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology or disease prevention may appeal to students who prefer a well-rounded comprehension of the medical field. Training in office administration, computer applications and information technology also apply to the health records profession and may be offered as elective courses. Some associate degree programs include a variety of advantages and opportunities. One such distinction offers the ability to transfer to a bachelor's program in health information technology.
Students could have the opportunity to gain experience in one or more aspects of the health information technician's responsibilities through practical experience, either through hands-on lab training or an internship through affiliated institutions. Other programs may allow students to study abroad, online or participate in school-sponsored professional events.
Associate Degree for Medical Record and Health Information Technicians Overview
An associate degree in health information technology is a standard qualifying factor required to earn professional certification. On-campus practicums or practical application through internships at local or international affiliated clinics may be available. These 2-year programs typically introduce students to basic healthcare topics, such as medical terminology, information management and anatomy. Students also learn:
- Coding standards
- Legal and ethical records practices
- Health information management
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