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Health Information and Medical Coding

Medical Records and Health Information Technicians, commonly referred to as health information technicians, organize and manage health information data. They ensure its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper and electronic systems. They use various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories.
Employment of health information technicians is projected to grow 22 percent from 2012 to 2022 nationwide, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for health services is expected to increase as the population ages. An aging population will need more medical tests, treatments, and procedures. This will mean more claims for reimbursement from insurance companies. Additional records, coupled with widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs) by all types of healthcare providers, could lead to an increased need for technicians to organize and manage the associated information in all areas of the healthcare industry.  
 
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians provide the following:
  • Review patient records for timeliness, completeness, accuracy, and appropriateness of data
  • Organize and maintain data for clinical databases and registries
  • Track patient outcomes for quality assessment
  • Use classification software to assign clinical codes for reimbursement and data analysis
  • Electronically record data for collection, storage, analysis, retrieval, and reporting
  • Protect patients’ health information for confidentiality, authorized access for treatment, and data security
  • Written and oral communication, knowledge of human biology, medical terminology, medical coding, medical billing, medical ethics and knowledge of laws relating to healthcare privacy are important for successful job placement.

Course work includes instruction in medical terminology, health insurance, electronic health records, health information, medical transcription and documents, human disease pathophysiology, medical staff credentialing, computer operations, and ethical/legal issues associated with medical records.

Most health information technicians work in hospitals or physicians’ offices. Others work in nursing care facilities or for government entities. Technicians typically work at desks or in offices and may spend many hours in front of computer monitors. The industries that employed the most health information technicians are general medical and surgical hospitals; state, local, and private offices of physicians, nursing and residential care facilities, and for the Government.

The curriculum for both the AAS and CP programs includes HIMC 250 which provides review and preparation for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC), which is the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) credentialing exam. Due to the level of expertise required of medical coders, AAPC expects certified coders to be able to perform not only in an exam setting but also in the real world. In addition to passing the certification exam, coders will also be required to demonstrate on-the-job coding experience. Those who pass the CPC®, exams but have not yet met this requirement will be designated as an Apprentice (CPC-A) on their certificate.

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