According to the Department of Labor, health care is one of the largest and most financially rewarding career fields for professionals who have earned a campus-based health associate degree or an online health associate degree. Employers actually prefer to hire workers with an associate health care administration degree, due to the specific, focused training graduates receive before entering the workforce. An associate health administration degree can train students to enter the health care industry as a medical records technician, one of the fastest-growing occupations through the year 2018.
What is a Medical Records Technician?
A graduate of an online health associate degree program who chooses to work as a medical records technician checks patient records for accuracy and completeness. Every time a patient has contact with a health care professional, undergoes surgery or diagnostic procedures, or reports symptoms of illness, the experience is documented in a medical record. The medical records technician reviews the information and regularly communicates with physicians and other health care professionals to obtain missing information and needed clarifications. It is the responsibility of the medical records technician to ensure all forms are completed correctly and signed by the appropriate personnel.
Required Education to Work as a Medical Records Technician
An online health associate degree in health administration or a related discipline is typically required to work as a medical records technician. Campus or online health care training in areas such as medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, legal issues in health information, and computer science are usually included in an associate health care degree. Many health college programs are now offering health care degree online programs. For example, the University of Phoenix offers an Associate of Arts in Health Administration that has been designed specifically for working professionals.
Some employers may require online health associate degree graduates to become certified as Registered Health Information Technicians. In order to sit for the examination for certification, workers must have attended a campus or online health associate degree program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). As of 2017, 184 associate health administration degree programs were accredited by CAHIIM.
Employment Outlook for Medical Records Technicians
Online health associate degree graduates who work as medical records technicians are expected to experience a 27% or more increase in new jobs through the year 2018. Federal legislation now mandates the use of electronic medical records. Medical records technicians will be needed to input patient data into computers and assist in the conversion from paper to electronic charting in many facilities. The skills of medical records technicians will also become invaluable as medical records are increasingly analyzed by insurance companies, courts, and health care regulating bodies.