Your Path to Becoming a Health Information Technician

Required Courses
  • Medical terminology
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Health data requirements and standards
  • Clinical classifications and coding systems
  • Data analysis
  • Database security management

Health information techs, or medical record techs, are responsible for gathering information regarding a patient's medical history, symptoms of illness, and which diagnostic tests and treatment methods they have received. They must manage all data in order to reinsure quality of service and security of a patient's confidential medical files. On a daily basis they must interact with physicians and nurses in order to properly determine the course of treatment.

These days, many health information techs use electronic health records (EHR) in order to keep up with the massive number of patient files that flow through their healthcare facility day-to-day. They must be proficient in their use of EHR software in order to navigate through the program so that they can properly maintain all important data.

Some health information techs can specialize in cancer registry where they will use their skills in data collection to keep track of progress of cancer patients. With their help they can aid doctors in designing proper treatment programs.

Step 1 Education

Those choosing to pursue a career in health information technology usually must hold an associate's degree in the health care field. While in their community college or vocational school they will most typically take courses in:

Most employers tend to hire those who are credentialed as registered health information technicians. These can be completed during your associate studies by any school that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics.

Those who wish to go into the specialized field of cancer registry can receive credentials through the same manner by a college that is supported by National Cancer Registrars Association. There are several institutions that offer credentialing to schools in specialty coding such as: The Board of Medical Specialty Coding, the Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists, and the American Academy of Professional Coders.

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Step 2 Job Search

The medical industry is quite a large and continues to grow each year. Job prospects for health information techs are expect to grow by more than 20% in the next 8 years. Diagnosis and treatment of patients is the most important aspect of health care programs. Therefore, a career as a health information tech holds of the most important key positions in a facility.

Step 3 Career

Health information techs typically work 40 hour work weeks although their schedules may not always be 9 to 5. If they work in a facility that is open 24-7 they will most likely work night, day, and weekend shifts combined.

Techs who want to advance their careers pursue bachelor's or master's degrees in some kind of special field within information technology such as medical coding or cancer registry. Others can move into management positions overseeing teams of information techs. With enough experience and education, techs can advance to mangers with specialty certification.