Medical Records Degrees
Medical records professionals and health information technicians are basically one in the same. The U.S. Department of Labor combines the two titles into one and it currently projects 20 percent job growth in this field for the 2008-2018 decade. Medical records professionals, also called medical records technicians. compile, code, analyze, and prepare health information. Patients, health care facilities, agencies that pay claims, physicians, the public, and other members of healthcare teams, utilize this information.
Medical records technicians work in hospitals, clinics, nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers, behavioral health institutes, insurance companies, and for consulting agencies. They also work for vendors, in private physician offices, in specialty hospitals, and in managed care facilities.
To become a medical records technician, you must have a Bachelor of Science degree in medical records technology or health information science. In order to be successful in either program, you must be computer savvy.
You must also be familiar with word processing programs and spreadsheets. Aspiring medical records technicians may enroll in a traditional program or an online program. However, many students prefer to work in the field in order to gain valuable contacts and experience while completing their degree online.
Many traditional colleges offer medial records technology or health information science programs online. A number of online schools offer these degrees as well. Whichever format you choose, there are a number of things to look for in a quality medical records technology or health information science program. First, the program must be accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (Ed.gov). The following agencies are the top accrediting agencies for traditional, regional, and online schools.
- Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
- Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Besides verifying accreditation, you should examine the school’s curriculum. The medical records technology or health information science curriculum will include general education courses such as college algebra, anatomy & physiology, English, U.S. history, psychology, sociology, speech, and computer science.
Major courses include:
- Applied Reimbursement Methods
- Clinical Data Management
- Clinical Terminologies and Classification Systems
- Computer Systems in Healthcare
- Contemporary Issues in HIM
- Electronic Health Records
- Financial and Resource Management
- Health Data Management
- Human Resources Management
- Issues in Healthcare Delivery
- Legal and Ethical Issues in Healthcare
- Professional Computer Practicum
- Professionalism and Leadership
- Project and Operations Management
- Quality Management and Performance Improvement
- Statistics and Research Methods
- Strategic Planning and Organizational Development
Admissions requirements for medial records technology or health information science degree programs should include a transcript request, test scores, recommendation letters, and an application essay. The school should also require other supporting materials that demonstrate aptitude and ability.
When you are ready to begin looking for on-campus or online medial records technology degrees or health information science degree programs, try searching through directories and college review sites such as Princeton Review. You may also search through comprehensive online directories such as Online Colleges USA.
Tip: After completing an accredited medical record technology degree program, students become eligible to take the National Certification Examination of the American Health Information Management Association. Upon successful completion of the examination, the student will receive the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential. The RHIT credential can be a valuable marketing tool when applying for top positions.