Medical file clerks, also known as medical records clerks or health information technicians, perform administrative tasks, which require knowledge of detailed medical record maintenance systems. Clerks typically hold a certificate or associate degree in medical billing and coding or health information technology.
|Required Education||Certificate or associate degree program typically required|
|Certification||Most employers prefer the Registered Health Information Technicians credential|
|Projected Job Growth*||22% (2012-2022)|
|Average Annual Salary*||$37,710 (2013)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Description for Medical File Clerks
Medical file clerks are responsible for organizing and maintaining patient's medical records, including personal information, medical history and billing records. Clerks enter medical and financial information into databases, create and implement filing systems, and ensure that the records are being managed according to industry standards. They also confirm with physicians or other medical personnel that the records are complete and correct.
The information contained in medical records is highly sensitive and a small mistake can directly affect a patient's care; therefore, clerks must be extremely detail oriented and knowledgeable about the particular practices in the office where they are employed. They must be excellent communicators and perform their tasks exactly as instructed. Medical file clerks may also be required to learn how to use advanced computer software for tracking medical and financial data.
Job Requirements for a Medical File Clerk
Positions as a medical file clerk may only require a high school diploma and on the job training; however, some positions may require the completion of a certificate or associate degree program in health information technology or medical record technology. Programs in health information technology typically include courses in information systems, coding, medical terminology, legal issues, health insurance, risk management and physiology. A bachelor's degree or master's degree is required to advance from a clerk to a managerial position.
Most employers prefer technicians who have obtained the Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT) credential offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Students must pass an AHIMA examination and have completed a 2-year program at an institution accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Several organizations, such as the American Academy of Professional Coders, offer specialized coding credentials, which are also obtained by passing an examination.
Job Outlook and Salary Information for Medical File Clerks
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects medical records and health information technicians, also known as medical file clerks, will see above-average job growth at 22% between 2012 and 2022. The BLS shows the average salary for medical records and health information technicians was $37,710 in 2013, with individuals working in high-paying states like New Jersey, California, Colorado, Connecticut and Alaska earning average salaries between $42,190 and $57,520 that year.