Registered Health Information Technician

Job and Education Requirements for RHIT

woman filing medical records
health information technician. Image courtesy of Snowleopard1/Getty Images

A Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) is responsible for assembling, organizing, and maintaining patient health information. They may work with paper or electronic records and ensure that they are managed in accordance with applicable Federal, State, and accrediting agencies' requirements.

RHIT job responsibilities vary depending on the size of the employer's organization. They work with all aspects of a patient record including demographic information, medical history, family history, medication history, diagnosis and treatment, test results, lab and radiology reports, and other information necessary for the providing quality patient care.

Most positions for these technicians are in hospitals, often in a Medical Records or Health Information department. Other health care settings include medical offices, nursing homes, home health agencies, mental health facilities, and public health agencies. There are also positions in any organization that uses patient data or health information, including pharmaceutical companies and other health product companies.

Job Duties of a Registered Health Information Technician

Medical records have to be assembled in a way that ensures they are complete, accurate, and able to be entered properly into computer systems. Health records are used in ensuring ongoing care for the patient, providing a legal record, and submitting reimbursement information. They must be accessible to authorized persons who request the information but also strongly protected from being accessed by others without authorization.

  • Maintains medical records for the patients and ensures the accuracy and accessibility of the records for continuity of care throughout the lifetime of the patient.
  • Uses computer applications to assemble and analyze patient data.
  • Stores protected health information in a manner that protects the confidentiality of the patients. This includes storage of physical records as well as electronic records.
  • Responds to inquiries from patients, prospective patients, visitors, physicians and other staff members in a courteous manner. Requires that appropriate release of information requirements are met.
  • Protects patient confidentiality by making sure protected health information is secured by not leaving PHI in plain site and logging off the computer before leaving it unattended.
  • Some RHIT professionals may also be responsible for performing billing and coding related job duties

Education Requirements for RHIT

  • An associates degree in a health information management program including ICD-9 and ICD-10 coding, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, legal issues, and information technology.
  • Also requires certification by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). A certification exam is administered to those who qualify by graduating from an accredited program.

Knowledge/Experience/Skills Required for RHIT

Knowledge of office procedures is usually obtained from a certificate or Associates degree in a business program including administrative processes and procedures, claims processing, preparing patient charts, and basic computer skills.

Experience: Employers may require a background in medical coding and medical records with a minimum of one year work experience in a medical office setting.

Skills: Strong computer skills, telephone etiquette, customer service, basic word and excel programs, time management, multi-tasking, organization,

Expected Salary for RHIT

Salary amounts vary based on years of experience, education, and job location. Use the Salary Wizard at salary.com to evaluate the average salary for this and other medical office jobs. The median pay in 2015 was $37,110 per year or $17.84 per hour.

Current Job Openings and Outlook

The job outlook is very good for medical records and health information technicians. Positions are predicted grow at 15 percent per year through 2024, much faster than the average for all professions.

Find current job openings for a Registered Health Information Technician and similar positions.

Information of Use for Health Information Technicians

  • Informing Patients of Privacy Rights: Health care providers have an obligation to provide their patients with a Notice of Privacy Practices. This notice, as required by the HIPAA Privacy Rule, gives patients the right to be informed about their privacy rights as it relates to their protected health information (PHI). The main objective of the notice of privacy practices is to notify patients of their rights and how to exercise those rights.
  • Prevent Privacy Breaches: Disclosures made regarding a patient's protected health information (PHI) without their authorization is considered a violation of the Privacy Rule under HIPAA. Most privacy breaches are not due to malicious intent but are accidental or negligent on the part of the organization.
  • Proper PHI Disposal: Proper disposal of protected health information (PHI) and other confidential information whether paper or electronic format is a requirement of HIPAA. Paper PHI should never be thrown in the regular trash. Placing PHI in trash bins or dumpsters is not a secure method of disposing of PHI. 

Continue Reading