Health information technicians organize and manage health information data. These jobs are conventional in that they have a set of guidelines and procedures to follow.
What Health Information Technicians Do
Health information technicians ensure that health data — on paper and electronically — keeps its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security.
They use classification systems to code and categorize patient information for:
- Insurance reimbursement purposes
- Databases and registries
- Patients’ medical and treatment histories
- Review patients’ 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 insurance reimbursement and data analysis
- Electronically record data for collection, storage, analysis, retrieval, and reporting
- Maintain confidentiality of patients’ records
These duties vary by employer.
Health information technicians do not provide direct patient care.
They work with registered nurses and other healthcare professionals to clarify diagnoses or to get additional information.
Use of electronic health records continues to change the work of health information technicians.
You will need to be familiar with EHR computer software, follow security and privacy practices, and analyze electronic data.
- Review patient information for preexisting conditions.
- Assign appropriate diagnoses and procedure codes for patient care, population health statistics, and billing purposes
- Work as a liaison between the healthcare providers and billing offices
- Review patients’ records and pathology reports
- Assign classification codes to the diagnosis and treatment of cancers and benign tumors
- Conduct annual followups to track treatment, survival, and recovery
- Compile and analyze cancer patient information for research purposes
- Maintain facility, regional, and national databases of cancer patients
Health Information Techs’ Work
Medical records and health information technicians held about 215,500 jobs in 2018.
The largest employers of medical records and health information technicians were
Medical records and health information technicians typically work in offices and may spend many hours in front of computer monitors. Some technicians may work from home.
Most health information technicians work full time. In healthcare facilities that are always open, such as hospitals, technicians may work evening or overnight shifts.
How to Become a Health Information Technician
Health information technicians typically need a postsecondary certificate to enter the occupation, although some may need an associate’s degree. Certification is often required.
- Postsecondary certificate and associate’s degree programs in health information technology typically include courses in:
- Medical terminology
- Anatomy and physiology
- Health data requirements and standards
- Classification and coding systems
- Healthcare reimbursement methods
- Healthcare statistics
- Computer systems
Applicants to health information technology programs may increase their chances of admission by taking high school courses in health, computer science, math, and biology.
A high school diploma or equivalent and previous experience in a healthcare setting are enough to qualify for some positions, but most jobs for health information technicians require postsecondary education.
Find an Accredited Health Information Program Near You
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Most employers prefer to hire health information technicians who have certification, or they may expect applicants to earn certification shortly after being hired. A health information technician can earn certification from several organizations.
Certifications include the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and the Certified Tumor Registrar among others.
Some organizations base certification on passing an exam.
Others require graduation from an accredited program. Many coding certifications also require coding experience in a work setting. Once certified, technicians 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.
Health Information Technician Salary
Health Information Technicians made a median salary of $42,630 in May 2019.The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less.
Employment of medical records and health information technicians is projected to grow 11% by 2028.
An aging population is driving the demand for health information technicians. The use of electronic health records by all types of healthcare providers will also increase the need for technicians.
Cancer registrars are expected to continue to be in high demand. As the population ages, there will likely be more types of special purpose registries because many illnesses are detected and treated later in life.
More Information About Health Information Technicians
For more information about health information technicians, including details about certification, visit
Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists
Health Information Technician Resume Keywords
- Protect the security of medical records to ensure that confidentiality is maintained.
- Review records for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with regulations.
- Retrieve patient medical records for physicians, technicians, or other medical personnel.
- Assign the patient to diagnosis-related groups (DRGs), using appropriate computer software.
- Process patient admission or discharge documents.
- Transcribe medical reports.
- Resolve or clarify codes or diagnoses with conflicting, missing, or unclear information by consulting with doctors or others or by participating in the coding team’s regular meetings.
- Enter data, such as demographic characteristics, history and extent of disease, diagnostic procedures, or treatment into computer.
- Identify, compile, abstract, and code patient data, using standard classification systems.
- Release information to persons or agencies according to regulations.
- Plan, develop, maintain, or operate a variety of health record indexes or storage and retrieval systems to collect, classify, store, or analyze information.
- Prepare statistical reports, narrative reports, or graphic presentations of information, such as tumor registry data for use by hospital staff, researchers, or other users.
- Post medical insurance billings.
- Compile and maintain patients’ medical records to document condition and treatment and to provide data for research or cost control and care improvement efforts.
- Manage the department or supervise clerical workers, directing or controlling activities of personnel in the medical records department.
- Compile medical care and census data for statistical reports on diseases treated, surgery performed, or use of hospital beds. See more occupations related to this task.
- Train medical records staff.
- Process and prepare business or government forms.
- Consult classification manuals to locate information about disease processes.
- Develop in-service educational materials.