What is a Medical Records Technician?

Medical Records Technician is a job within the growing healthcare field. Interested? Read on to learn more.

Healthcare providers are heavily reliant on a patient’s history in their decision making process. Knowledge of their past diagnosis and treatments (broadly classified as medical records) is needed if the patient is to be diagnosed and treated successfully. The medical records technician is tasked with keeping and maintaining these medical records.

Indeed, a medical record technician is only one of a few healthcare professionals who don't provide hands-on patient care, but who are very much vital to the success of the industry. This role is even more critical considering the vast number of persons that make the trip to hospitals and healthcare facilities each day.

Medical Records Technician: A vital position in healthcare

Every visiting patient to a hospital generally has an electronic medical history that is reviewed by the doctor, guiding their investigation of the patient. The doctor reviews the patient’s medical records prior to their visit and investigates the patient in the context of those records, while at the same time considering their current conditions and symptoms. The current visit is added to the patient’s medical records, with doctor’s notes detailing symptoms, diagnoses, and follow-up actions (including further testing or prescriptions).

All of these records are kept and maintained by the medical records technician. Following the visit, the doctor’s notes are transferred into the patient’s electronic medical records. For a patient to consistently receive appropriate treatment, the medical record technician (otherwise known as a "health information technician") must transfer these notes accurately and in a timely fashion.

At times, the role of the medical records technician can be expanded to include the coding of diagnoses. This often involves converting diagnoses and procedures into specialized codes to enable the healthcare provider to request reimbursements from the patient’s insurer. Coding is also sometimes used for trend analysis, research and data reporting. However, this is mostly a specialized role that often involves the services of a medical coder.

Medical Records Technician: Responsibilities and Workplace

A medical records technician is typically tasked with the following responsibilities:

  • Retrieving, collating and compiling patients’ health information
  • Working with doctors to understand diagnoses and proposed medical procedures
  • Entering patients’ health information into the electronic records system
  • Ensuring medical records are up-to-date

With these assigned tasks, it becomes clear that the most common work environment for medical records technicians are hospitals. All hospitals are required to use electronic medical records systems, so any paper that is generated during medical procedures must be scanned, organized, and associated with the correct patients. Aside from hospitals, MRTs can also work in insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, nursing homes, and just about anywhere health information is used.

If you're interested in the growing field of healthcare information management, medical billing and coding, or healthcare administration, we invite you to check out one of the following programs at Bryan University to learn more:

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