Health information technicians, also known as medical records technicians work for medical / health facilities where their main job is to collect and store patient information. As popularly believed, health information technicians do not gather information firsthand. They receive patient information from medical professionals which they then analyze and store. They determine the best ways of organizing information – some may feel that a record needs to be maintained in both paper and electronic forms. Primarily, they are required to handle facility databases to manage patient information, which is why they need to possess excellent data entry (typing speed and accuracy) skills and have a strong head for detail.
In some facilities, health information technicians may also be responsible for medical coding duties – work that involves translation of diagnosis descriptions and treatments into numerical codes, set by the industry. Under these circumstances, they may be required to possess in-depth knowledge of ICT codes and ways of punching them into predefined systems.
Health information technicians need to be extremely detail-oriented and organized to be able to successfully work at this position. While a high school diploma is usually sufficient to be considered for this position, most facilities will insist that you possess a certification from AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association).
Typically, a health information technician performs some or all of the duties provided in the list below:
• Acquire patient information from medical professionals and scan them for irregularities or inaccuracies
• Ascertain that received information is accurate and complete and determine the best way of coding it into the system
• Review all records for compliance with regulations before punching them into the system
• Punch in data such as demographic characteristics, disease types and diagnostic procedures and treatments into the system
• Plan, develop and maintain health records indexes and storage and retrieval systems aimed at collecting and analyzing patient data
• Compile and maintain patients’ records so that conditions and provided treatments can be documented and tracked easily
• Resolve any issues related to codes or diagnosis by contacting medical professionals for clarity and explanation
• Research and verify patients’ insurance eligibility and coverage and review medical records for specific payer coding regulations
• Assist in ongoing coding audits to determine areas that need improvement and provide support in updating coding and billing manuals
• Respond to requests for patient data retrieval by first verifying the requester and his or her purpose for requesting information
• Create and submit periodic reports regarding the influx of information and data retrieval to ensure appropriate tracking