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Top Responsibilities Of A Registered Health Information Technician

registered health information technician

A registered health information technician or RHIT has a very important role to play in the healthcare industry. It is their job to organize and manage health information data related to the patient including their medical records and their payment for healthcare services. It is their responsibility to maintain the quality, accuracy, accessibility, and the security of these documents whether they are in paper or digital form. An RHIT will use a variety of classification systems to categorize and code the information so that insurance paperwork may be filed. They also use their skills to input data into registries and databases, as well as maintain details regarding the patient’s medical and healthcare treatment history.

What Are The Duties Of A Registered Health Information Technician?

Health Information Technician

RHIT duties will usually include the following:

  • Look over the patient’s medical records for accuracy and completeness
  • Organize and properly maintain all data inside databases and clinical registries
  • Keep track of the patient’s outcome for quality assessment
  • Use appropriate software to assign clinical codes for insurance billing purposes
  • Electronically record data for storage, collection, analysis, retrieval, and reporting of information
  • Ensure that confidentiality is always maintained when it comes to the patient’s records and personal information

A registered health information technician must keep track of the patient’s health information such as their medical history, tests, exams, treatment, and other details about their medical care. While their duties may vary from one type of facility to another, their main purpose is to oversee patient data and keep it confidential.

Additional Duties Performed By Registered Health Information Technicians

Additional Duties

An RHIT cannot perform direct care to the patient, but they do work alongside RNs regularly, as well as other healthcare professionals for the benefit of the patient. These technicians will meet with the care providers to get more information about the patient’s condition. They may need to clarify a recent diagnosis for insurance billing purposes. Or they may require additional information from the doctor or caregivers to ensure that the patient’s records are accurate and up-to-date.

How Electronic Healthcare Records Can Change The Duties Of An RHIT

Electronic Healthcare

As the continued use of Electronic Health Records or EHRs becomes more commonplace in the industry, the everyday duties of the registered health information technician will continue to evolve as well. Therefore, an RHIT will need to familiarize themselves with EHR software. They will need to follow the security guidelines and privacy policies for electronic health records, and always analyze electronic data to help improve how healthcare information is gathered and stored.

The Different Specialty Areas Of Health Information Technology

Registered health information technicians may specialize in different areas of patient health information. This can include working as medical coders or cancer registrars.

The Duties Of A Medical Coder

  • A medical coder’s duties include reviewing patient information for current health conditions such as diabetes, so that the patient’s data may be properly coded into the system.
  • They are responsible for assigning appropriate diagnoses and determine the correct procedure code for patient care, for population health statistics, and for billing insurance companies.
  • They must be a reliable connection between the healthcare providers and the billing office. If there are any issues between the two, it is usually up to the medical coder to resolve them.

The Duties Of A Cancer Registrar

  • It is their responsibility to review all patient details and information, as well as pathology reports to verify for accuracy and completeness.
  • They must assign classification codes that represent the treatment and diagnosis of different types of cancer and benign tumors.
  • They will need to perform annual follow-ups with patients to track treatment, survival rates and recovery details.
  • A cancer registrar must compile and analyze patient information for the purpose of cancer research.
  • They will need to maintain facility, regional, and national databases of cancer patients to compare data.

What Type Of Work Environments Do RHITs Work In?

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A registered health information technician can work in a variety of facilities. The majority of RHITs work in hospitals, while others work in physician offices and administrative and support areas. While it is rare for a registered health information technician to work in a skilled nursing facility, it is possible, and these RHIT jobs make up 6% of all the health information technology jobs in the industry. 

Most registered health information technicians work inside of an office setting and will spend a lot of their day sitting in front of a computer screen. However, there are some techs who may be able to work from home if their job permits. Most RHITs will work full time in healthcare facilities that are open 24/7 such as hospitals. However, it is possible to find an RHIT job that is only part time, on weekends, or in the evening.

What Is The Average Salary For An RHIT?

The average salary for a registered health information technician, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $39,180 in May 2017. The lower 10% of these workers earned less than $25,810 while the higher 10% earned more than $64,610. Here are the average salary amounts for RHITs in the top industries.
  • Professional scientific and technical – $42,420
  • Hospitals – $42,090
  • Administrative and support services – $40,590
  • Skilled nursing facilities – $36,500
  • Physician offices – $34,250

What Is The Job Outlook For Registered Health Information Technicians?

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The job outlook for registered health information techs is expected to be very good as jobs are projected to grow 13% between 2016 and 2026. As the current population ages and more baby boomers will start to require ongoing medical care, there will be a growing need for more registered health information technicians and their skills. Add that to the widespread use of electronic health records, and there is sure to be a need for many more RHITs in the years to come. RHITs who have experience in medical coding will be in high demand as well, and so will the need for cancer registrars.

How To Become A Registered Health Information Technician

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For those who are interested in starting a career as an RHIT or a certified tumor registrar (CTR), the outlook looks very good as far as job openings and security goes. To apply for a job in the health information tech industry, you will need to have a postsecondary certificate or an associate’s degree. Certification is usually required as well.

Education Requirements

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Most employers will require you to have either a postsecondary certification or an associate’s degree in health information technology to apply. These programs include courses such as medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, health data requirements and standards, communication, classification and coding systems, healthcare reimbursement methods, computer systems, and healthcare statistics. 

Students who are applying for enrollment in a healthcare information tech program can improve their chances of admission by taking and excelling in high school courses such as biology, computer science, health, and math. For some positions in the healthcare information industry, a high school diploma or GED along with some previous experience are enough to qualify for a job. However, most jobs in this area will require the applicant to have at least a postsecondary certification.

Must-Have Qualities

There are a few qualities that make a good RHIT even better. Analytical Skills An RHIT should be able to understand and follow medical records and diagnoses, then decide the best way to code them into the system. Detail-Oriented A health information tech must be accurate when recording data or coding in patient details. Integrity A health information technician works with patient information that must be kept confidential as required by law. 

They must be discreet and use a strong sense of ethics while reviewing private patient details. Interpersonal Skills Health information techs must be able to talk about patient details, issues, and other information with professionals in their line of work such as physicians and insurance personnel. Technical Skills A health Information tech will need to have good technical skills, be trained in medial coding and classification software, and have experience using the new EHS system.

Becoming A Registered Health Information Technician Is A Solid Career Choice In The Healthcare Industry

With the job outlook looking good for registered health information technicians well into the future, it is safe to say that choosing to become an RHIT is a positive career choice. A health information tech has a lot of very important job duties such as analyzing patient data and ensuring that all information is correct in the system. It is their responsibility to make any updates or changes to a patient’s files and handle billing issues with the patient’s insurance company as needed. As the population continues to age, there are sure to be even more opportunities available for RHITs with coding and EHS skills.