Medical Records and Health Information Specialists

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Medical records and health information technicians organize and manage health information data.

Work Environment: Medical records and health information specialists typically spend many hours at a computer. Most work full time.

How to Become One: Medical records and health information specialists typically need a postsecondary certificate to enter the occupation, although some qualify with a high school diploma. Others need an associate’s or higher degree. Certification is often required.

Salary: The median annual wage for medical records and health information specialists is $44,090.

Job Outlook: Employment of medical records and health information specialists is projected to grow 8 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for health services is expected to increase as the population ages.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of medical records and health information specialists with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a medical records and health information specialist with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Medical Records Technicians Jobs

  • Medical Records Technician (roi) - Veterans Health Administration - Anchorage, AK

    ... medical records ... Release of Information (ROI) technicians disclose health information in accordance with all laws ...

  • Medical Records Technician - Arizona Oncology Associates - Glendale, AZ

    It also takes an exceptional team of Medical Records Technicians working behind the scenes and being a part of our patients experience in our clinics. If you are a detail-oriented individual who ...

  • Medical Records Technician (Coder-Outpatient and Inpatient) - Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration - Long Beach, CA

    Summary The Medical Records Technician (Coder-Outpatient and Inpatient) serves in the Health Information Management Section of Health Administration Service in the VA Long Beach Healthcare System ...

See all Medical Records Technicians jobs

Top 3 Health Information Technicians Jobs

  • HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNICIAN 3 ( FULL-TIME DAYS) - University of Washington - Seattle, WA

    UW Medical Center - Northwest Breast Imaging has an outstanding opportunity for a FULL-TIME DAY SHIFT, HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNICIAN 3. This position is responsible for providing radiology images ...

  • HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNICIAN 2 - University of Washington - Seattle, WA

    The Department of Enterprise Records and Health Information currently has an outstanding opportunity for a HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNICIAN 2 . Under the general supervision of the Scanning Supervisor ...

  • Release of Information Technician - Banner Health - Phoenix, AZ

    Current release of information experience. Current experience with Cerner Powerchart, MS4, ROI ... Banner Health offers a variety of benefit plans to help you and your family. We provide health and ...

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What Medical Records and Health Information Specialists Do[About this section] [To Top]

Medical records and health information specialists organize, manage, and code health information data. 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.

Duties of Medical Records and Health Information Specialists

Medical records and health information specialists typically do the following:

  • Review patients' records for timeliness, completeness, and accuracy
  • Organize and update information in clinical databases or registries
  • Use classification systems to assign clinical codes for insurance reimbursement and data analysis
  • Electronically record data for collection, storage, analysis, retrieval, and reporting
  • Maintain confidentiality of patients' records

Medical records and health information specialists verify and validate patients' health information, including their medical history, symptoms, examination and test results, treatments, and other information about healthcare services provided to patients. Their duties vary by employer and by the size of the facility in which they work.

Although medical records and health information specialists do not provide direct patient care, they work regularly with registered nurses and other healthcare workers. They meet with these workers to clarify diagnoses or to get additional information.

Medical records and health information specialists use electronic health records (EHRs) software, following EHR security and privacy practices to analyze electronic data and improve healthcare information.

The following are examples of types of medical records and health information specialists:

Cancer registrars review patients' records and pathology reports to verify completeness and accuracy. They assign classification codes to represent the diagnosis and treatment of cancers and benign tumors. Cancer registrars conduct annual followups to track treatment, survival, and recovery. They compile and analyze cancer patient information for research purposes, and they maintain facility, regional, and national databases of cancer patients.

Health information technicians collect, analyze, and track treatment and followup information on patients. They respond to record requests and validate authorizations and other legal requests. These technicians also provide administrative support to other staff in the health information management department.

Medical coders assign the diagnosis and procedure codes for patient care, population health statistics, and billing purposes. For example, they might review patient information for preexisting conditions, such as diabetes, to ensure proper coding of patient data. They also work as the liaison between healthcare providers and billing offices.

Work Environment for Medical Records and Health Information Specialists[About this section] [To Top]

Medical records and health information specialists hold about 341,600 jobs. The largest employers of medical records and health information specialists are as follows:

Hospitals; state, local, and private 37%
Offices of physicians 15%
Administrative and support services 5%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 5%
Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities) 3%

Medical records and health information specialists typically work at a computer.

Medical Records and Health Information Specialist Work Schedules

Most medical records and health information specialists work full time. In healthcare facilities that are always open, such as hospitals, specialists may work evening or overnight shifts.

How to Become a Medical Records or Health Information Specialist[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Medical Records and Health Information Specialists near you!

Medical records and health information specialists typically need a postsecondary certificate to enter the occupation, although some qualify with a high school diploma. Others need an associate's or higher degree. Certification is often required.

Education for Medical Records and Health Information Specialists

A high school diploma or equivalent and experience in a healthcare setting are enough to qualify for some positions, but others require postsecondary education.

Postsecondary certificate and degree programs in health information technology typically include courses in medical terminology, health data requirements and standards, and classification and coding systems. Applicants may increase their chances of admission by taking high school courses in health, computer science, math, and biology.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Medical Records and Health Information Specialists

Employers may prefer to hire medical records and health information specialists who have certification, or they may expect applicants to earn certification shortly after being hired. Certifications available for medical records and health information specialists include the Certified Professional Coder (CPC), the Certified Coding Associate (CCA), and the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT).

Some certifications require candidates to pass an exam. Others require graduation from an accredited program. Many coding certifications also require coding experience in a work setting. Once certified, specialists typically must renew their certification regularly and take continuing education courses.

A few states and facilities require cancer registrars to be certified. Certification as a Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) requires completion of a formal education program and experience, along with passing an exam.

Advancement for Medical Records and Health Information Specialists

Specialists may advance to become medical or health services manager after completing a higher certification program or earning a bachelor's or master's degree in health information technology. Requirements vary by facility.

Important Qualities for Medical Records and Health Information Specialists

Analytical skills. Medical records and health information specialists must interpret medical documentation to assess diagnoses, which they then code into a patient's medical records.

Detail oriented. Medical records and health information specialists must be precise about verifying and coding patient information.

Integrity. Medical records and health information specialists must exercise discretion and act ethically when working with patient data to protect patient confidentiality, as required by law.

Interpersonal skills. Medical records and health information specialists need to be able to discuss patient information, discrepancies, and data requirements with physicians, finance personnel, and other workers involved in patient care and recordkeeping.

Medical Records and Health Information Specialist Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for medical records and health information specialists is $44,090. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,800, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $73,370.

The median annual wages for medical records and health information specialists in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Management of companies and enterprises $50,010
Hospitals; state, local, and private $46,880
Administrative and support services $43,890
Professional, scientific, and technical services $43,460
Offices of physicians $39,190

Most medical records and health information specialists work full time. In healthcare facilities that are always open, such as hospitals, specialists may work evening or overnight shifts.

Job Outlook for Medical Records and Health Information Specialists[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of health information specialists is projected to grow 8 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations.

An aging population will require more medical services, and medical records and health information specialists will be needed to organize and manage the older generations' health information data. 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, will lead to an increased need for specialists to organize and manage the associated information in all areas of the healthcare industry.

Cancer registrars are expected to continue to be in high demand. With an increase in the older population, there will likely be more types of special purpose registries because many illnesses are detected and treated later in life.

Employment projections data for Medical Records and Health Information Specialists, 2019-29
Occupational Title Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29
Percent Numeric
Medical dosimetrists, medical records specialists, and health technologists and technicians, all other 341,600 370,600 8 29,000

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