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What Does a Medical Records Technician Do? An Informative Guide

medical records technician working on computer

Would you like to make over $40,000 a year? Are you detailed oriented and interested in working in a medical setting? If your answer is yes, consider becoming a medical records technician.
If you’ve never heard of a medical records technician, don’t worry. Keep reading this article to learn what the training and job entails.

What Does a Medical Records Technician Do?

A Medical Records Technicians’ (MRTs) primary focus is on health information records. They maintain all health information in a variety of formats. Health information can include medical histories, symptoms, test results, diagnoses, treatment plans, and more.

The following provides an example of responsibilities often assigned to MRTs.

  • Ensuring all paperwork is correctly completed
  • Checking for file accuracy and accessibility
  • Ensuring file security
  • Clarifying diagnoses or other health information with physicians and healthcare professionals
  • Maintaining accurate and secure electronic health record (EHR) databases
  • Working with EHR software
  • Assisting other employees with EHR use
  • Creating and troubleshooting health information networks

Another important role for the MRT is medical coding using classification systems software. This involves compiling data from medical record documentation. Insurance payment relies on having the correct diagnosis and procedure codes on all bills.

The MRT role may also expand into many other key tasks. Examples include:

  • Compiling data about patient safety
  • Collecting data related to patterns of disease diagnosis
  • Looking for patterns in disease treatment and outcomes

Some MRTs complete further education to specialize in working with a cancer registry. This involves:

  • Oversite of local, regional, and national cancer patient databases
  • Reviewing patient records and pathology reports
  • Assigning diagnostic and treatment codes for various cancers and benign tumors
  • Coordinating annual reviews to track cancer treatment, survival, and recovery
  • Calculating cancer survival rates
  • Identifying potential candidates for clinical trials
  • Mapping geographic areas with a high rate of specific cancer diagnoses

Once you become an MRT, you have many roads to take. This is not a stagnant career path. In fact, it’s advantageous to be flexible and embrace change.

How to Become a Medical Records Technician

Most MRT training programs require that you have a high school diploma or equivalent. Many employers now want candidates to have formal training or an associate degree.
Medical record technician training programs vary according to which school you choose. You may wonder, “What do I have to do to complete this schooling?”

You can find both on-line and in-person programs. You will work with computers so that you develop the skills needed for this career. Most programs last between one and a half to two years.
MRTs must understand medical terminology. Training programs also teach you about medical coding, medical classifications, and standards. You learn how to work with insurance companies as well.

Today, most MRTs need certification for job eligibility. Certifications may include:

  • Nationally Registered Certified Coding Specialist from the National Association for Health Professionals
  • The Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist from the National Health Career Association
  • Registered Health Information Technician from the American Health Information Management Association
  • Certified Tumor Registrar from the National Cancer Registrars Association
  • Medical Coder from the American Academy of Coders

Having a certification and/or specialization increases your marketability.

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