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Health Records Technician: Diploma Program Summary

A health records technician diploma program prepares students to update medical files and health records, analyze and maintain patient records and assign correct diagnostic codes using an established medical coding system.

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Essential Information

A health records technician program is designed to help students develop communication and organizational skills required in this career. Students learn primarily through coursework and lab studies.

  • Program Levels in Health Records Technology: Certificate.
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED.
  • Other Requirements: Supervised internship or externship hours.
  • Online Availability: Some courses and programs are available online.

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Certificate Program in Health Records Technology

While in a health records technology program, in addition to learning how to import and export medical data, participants also study medical terminology, basic human anatomy and physiology. Typical courses include:

  • Health information technology
  • Electronic health records
  • Database fundamentals
  • Medical insurance
  • Medical coding
  • Medical ethics and laws

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical records and health information technicians should experience an employment increase of 22% between 2012 and 2022. Contributing to this increase is the aging population and the increasing number of medical procedures and tests being performed. The BLS also reported that medical records and health information technicians earned a median annual wage of $35,900 as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Graduates may pursue immediate employment as health records technicians, medical records techs or health information specialists, or they may advance their education or obtain specialty certifications. With experience, they may become health information managers; however, they may need a bachelor's or master's degree to attain management positions.

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential to eligible applicants who ass the AHIMA certification examination. Other organizations offering certification include the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), the Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS) and the Board of Medical Specialty Coding & Compliance (BMSC). The PAHCS and the BMSC both offer specialty certifications.

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