With the technology shift of all industry sectors, we know that our data is being handled mostly electronically. This is the case with the digitalization of our medical files as well. And that is why the role of certified electronic health medical specialists is one of the most prosperous ones looking at it from a futuristic perspective.
Below, you will find all the information you need regarding the role of Electronic Health Records Specialists, so keep on reading to find out more!
What is a Medical Records Specialist?
Medical Record Specialists go by several names. They are known as Medical Records Technicians, coders, coding specialists or coding representatives. However, their role mostly consists in abstracting information from medical record documentation, assigning the appropriate diagnosis and procedure codes. These codes are then used for a number of different purposes including, among others, reimbursement, planning, research, and by public health officials to track and monitor disease patterns.
Such a profession is among the administrative roles within healthcare facilities. Medical record specialists do not work directly with patients but are responsible for accurately scanning, verifying, and storing medical records to appropriate charts. Furthermore, these professionals must be careful with the patient information as they must follow the laws and regulations set by the healthcare facility and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
Electronic Health Records Specialist Jobs
If you are passionate about technology, data coding, and healthcare, pursuing a career as an electronic health records specialist might be the perfect option for you.
Health Information Technicians mostly work in hospitals but can also find jobs at insurance companies, rehabilitation centers, medical labs, or outpatient care centers. Furthermore, jobs related to health information do not include being directly involved with patients, as they are done typically via computers.
According to BLS, health record specialists held 335,000 jobs in 2020. Electronic health records specialist is a rewarding career path, as proven by the fact that there are many options you can choose from once you obtain the necessary professional certifications.
Some of those options include:
This entry-level job is a great way to start your career as a health records specialist. As a medical coder, your primary job responsibility will be analyzing medical records, translating details into the universal medical alphanumeric code, ensuring that the translations are accurate, and working with other hospital personnel if there are discrepancies.
In simple terms, a medical coder converts diagnoses, procedures, or interventions into a code that will then be reported to the insurance company.
The average annual salary for medical coders in the United States is $44,000.
Medical Biller too is considered an entry-level job. A medical biller is responsible for ensuring that the healthcare provider (the hospital in this case) is paid for the performed services by billing the patients and the insurance company. Furthermore, a biller sends the paperwork prepared by the coder and makes sure that the insurance company receives the correct payment.
Medical coder and medical biller are two separate jobs, but if a person has the necessary qualifications, hospitals may allow them to perform both roles.
The job of cancer registrars is to gather information about cancer patients and their treatment. Then, they share this information with other help healthcare professionals who work to find new cancer treatment and prevention methods.
Similar to other health records specialists, cancer registrars mainly work in hospitals. However, they can also be self-employed or work for state cancer registries, different organizations, government agencies, and pharmaceutical companies.
Why are these professionals in demand?
Medical offices nowadays increasingly depend on electronic medical records to organize their patient’s information, medical records and treatment histories.
That’s why tech-savvy administrative professionals who can navigate these complex online health information systems are constantly on demand. As a matter of fact, employment of health information technicians is projected to grow throughout the upcoming years. To be more precise, demand for medical records and health information technicians is expected to increase 11% through 2028, through findings shown from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). According to the agency, about 23,100 new jobs will be added.
The reason for this growth is evidently the nation’s aging population, which is having increased reimbursement claims from both private and public sector insurance providers. Hence, electronic medical records specialists will play a key role in intermediating the relationships between insurers and healthcare providers.
Electronic Medical Records Specialist Salary
People who are looking to pursue this career should bear in mind that the profit is high, but it also depends on many factors. Whether Electronic Health Record Jobs are financially rewarding or not, depends on your local market conditions, your work experience and educational qualifications.
Recent records show that, as of July 2022, electronic health records specialists make $63,188 per year in the United States. This median salary is estimated from the two extremes of the lowest range, only $28,000 per year, and the highest going all the way to $380,000 per year.
Other data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that the current top industries where these professionals earn the most are:
- The federal government, with an annual salary of $99,750
- General professional, scientific, and technical services, with an annual salary of $63,970
- General medical and surgical hospitals (state, local, and private), with an annual salary of $52,480
- Educational services (state, local, and private), with an annual salary of $47,860
- Physicians offices, with an annual salary of $46,590.
In addition to the industry and education, your salary as a medical record technician also depends on the country where you practice. Generally, the highest-paying areas within the United States are the following:
- Kokomo, Indiana, with $71,470
- Trenton, New Jersey, with $70,430
- Kennewick, Washington, with $67,560
- Vallejo, California, with $65,080
- Corvallis, Oregon, with $64,770.
How to Get a Job in Medical Records?
To become a medical records specialist, you must have an associate or another secondary degree in health information or a related field. Along with that, you must possess a certification to work in your state. It is possible that some employers may not have high expectations, and that they may settle even if you’re in the process of completing your certification. However, to ensure your long-term career, it is best if you invest in certification, which is provided by different organizations. It is up to you to check the requirements deriving from your state and match them with prospective employers.
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The professional certifications which are required for an entry in the field of health information and medical records include Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and/or an associate degree. AHIMA and the American Academy of Professional Coders are among the organizations that offer certification programs.
Individuals seeking more advanced career possibilities may need a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. A master’s degree is typically required to enter management, teaching and other leadership positions in the field.
What Medical records professionals owe to keep in mind is that the electronic management of data is not a static process that you learn and repeat. They must become aware of the latest technology trends, that make their services more efficient. That is why education and training in this field must be continuous.
Electronic Health Records Specialist Skills
Besides the qualifications mentioned in this article, there are some core skills that health information technicians should possess. Analytical skills, attention to detail, integrity, and interpersonal skills are essential for a successful health information technician career.
What can Potomac University offer to these professionals?
Now that you’ve read about some of the essential requirements to become an Electronic Medical Record Specialist, join the ranks of this rising health field by combining your studies with our online courses offered at the University of the Potomac.
New classes at The Potomac Workforce Training & Development Center are designed to prepare you for a smooth entry into new careers. With a 12-month, self-paced Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist Career Prep course, you’ll earn an advanced certificate that paves the way for a new career in healthcare.
This comprehensive education in all aspects of electronic health records will prepare you to take the National Healthcareer Association Electronic Health Record Specialist (CEHRS) certification exam. The course includes:
- Introduction to Electronic Health Records: Learn the importance of electronic health records and their role in medical offices. Get a leg up with information on new electronic health record initiatives and the future of electronic health records.
- Implementing Electronic Health Records: Learn how to access resources and programs to assist with electronic health record implementation.
- Record Content and Patient Management: Learn the different formats and standards commonly used in health records, as well as the practical instruction you need to manage patient visits and information including medication and allergy lists.
- Examinations and Treatment: Learn how to log examination and assessment notes, graphics, charts, treatment plans, patient orders, results, and medication orders.
- Patient Communications: Learn how to use computer software to manage patient communications and the necessary precautions to take when using electronic communications.
- Coding, Billing, and Practice Reports: Learn how to use electronic records to manage coding and billing workflow and reports.
- Research, Registries, and Reportable Events: Learn how research participation can affect electronic health records.
- Personal Health Records and Clinical Care Records: Learn to develop and maintain data categories of personal care records and clinical care records.
Choosing University of the Potomac will enhance you with the proper skills you need to become an Electronic Health Records Specialist. about enrollment options or additional courses in healthcare management.