Schools for Electronic Medical Records Specialists: How to Choose

Electronic medical records specialists design, implement and maintain electronic patient records. Certificate and associate degree programs exist in both general office management and medical office administration. Students interested in becoming an electronic medical records specialist should choose a program with the highest concentration of relevant courses.

How to Select an Electronic Medical Records School

Programs available to students interested in becoming electronic medical records specialists can be found at community and career colleges.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Program options
  • Legal focus

Program Options

The primary consideration when selecting an electronic medical records program is the desired level of education. Certificate programs in health information, medical business and medical office technology provide instruction in general medical office administration and include coursework in electronic records-keeping. Since these programs often offer a broad curriculum, career possibilities expand beyond medical records and may include medical assisting or office management.

Similarly, associate degree programs are available in medical office management with an emphasis on electronic records. Degree programs require a longer time commitment, but often provide greater employment opportunities. Additionally, credits earned in these programs can be transferable to bachelor's degree programs.

Legal Focus

Students should also consider the emphasis a program places on the federal government's 2009 legislation requiring physicians and hospitals to utilize electronic medical software. As compliance with these laws is mandatory, instruction in their implementation may be essential in finding employment. Educational programs should also include the topic of the guidelines and rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the federal laws that govern the privacy of medical records.

Electronic Medical Records Program Overview

Electronic Medical Records Certificate

This certificate program teaches basic information essential to working in a medical office, such as:

  • Medical terminology
  • Medical office procedures
  • Electronic records

Students are taught procedures for guiding and implementing the necessary software to comply with federal medical electronic record mandates.

Medical Business and Clinical Specialist Certificate

A medical business and clinical specialist certificate program provides students with instruction for working in one of many positions in a medical office. Coursework covers:

  • Procedures for updating and filing medical records
  • Billing and bookkeeping procedures
  • Manual and electronic record-keeping

Medical Office Technology Certificate

A medical office technology program focuses on general medical office skills, including the use of technology in a medical institution. Students are taught skills such as:

  • Coding for medical procedures
  • Preparation of insurance claims
  • Electronic formatting of patient records

Associate of Science in Office Management

An Associate of Science (A.S.) program in office management requires two years of study consisting of general education and management-specific courses. Some programs allow students to concentrate studies in record management. In these programs, students are taught concepts in:

  • Business communication
  • Claim form design
  • Record information guidelines

A record management specialization offers students the ability to investigate electronic medical records as it pertains to offices in general and specifically to medical offices. Internship opportunities may be available.

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