Medical Records Analyst: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for a medical records analyst. Get the facts about job requirements, education needed, and potential salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Electronic Medical Records degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Medical Records Analyst?

Medical records analysts are responsible for the organization and maintenance of patient healthcare data. They ensure the accuracy and compliance of medical records, and they organize it into databases and electronic health records for quality assurance and reimbursement purposes. They may also produce reports based on analysis results. In most cases, they work in physicians' offices, hospitals and other health care facilities.

The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Postsecondary certificate, Associate's degree
Education Field of Study Medical office management; medical billing; medical record technology
Key Responsibilities Interpret billing and payment data; compile financial reports; file insurance claims
Certification RHIT and RHIA credentials available, among others
Job Growth (2014-2024) 15%* (medical records and health information technicians)
Average Annual Salary (2015) $40,430* (medical records and health information technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Work Does a Medical Records Analyst Do?

The work of a medical records analyst includes many aspects of medical records management. Using special software for health care reimbursement, you'll prepare insurance claims and other bills using standardized medical coding systems, which gives each diagnosis and procedure a unique code. These codes are required by insurance companies and other payers. You could also create and maintain various data storage and retrieval systems for safely storing patient information. You and your team generally need to ensure the security of patient records by following current regulations and guidelines.

As an analyst, you'll usually need to interpret billing, payment and other data and generate reports of the office's financial activities on a regular basis to be sent to management for review. These reports can include information about costs, diagnostics and treatments as well as other demographic information helpful in determining the performance levels of the office or department

How Can I Prepare for the Career?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that most health information technicians start with an associate's degree from a vocational school or college. In a degree program, you can learn medical terminology, medical office procedures, coding, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, math and computer science. Academic options that can prepare you for this career include medical office management, medical billing and coding or medical record technology programs.

You'll need an aptitude for working with numbers and detailed information. You'll also need to be well organized with good time management skills. Additionally, you'll have to be comfortable working with computers and software technologies since most hospitals and clinics maintain electronic records.

In addition to education, the BLS states that employers look for candidates who have certification in the field. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) awards Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credentials, which are standards for the industry and require you to earn an associate or bachelor's degree to qualify for certification testing. With a degree and sufficient experience, you could also pursue specialized certifications, such as the Certified Health Data Analyst or Certified Documentation Improvement Practitioner.

How Much Can I Earn?

The BLS reported in May 2015 that the average annual income for health information technicians, which includes medical records analysts, was $40,430. The majority of these professionals worked in hospital settings, though a significant number also found employment in doctors' offices. According to the website PayScale, medical records administrators received a median salary of $44,116 in October 2016 (www.payscale.com).

What Is the Career Outlook?

As with most jobs in the health care industry, employment for medical records analysts and other health information technicians was expected to grow significantly. The BLS reported an expected increase of 15% between 2014 and 2024 due to the rise in the elderly population who need more medical care as well as the growth in the number of medical tests and procedures completed.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you are interested in working in the office of a medical facility, you could also think about becoming a medical secretary. These professionals perform basic clerical functions, as well as healthcare industry-focused functions such as insurance billing and medical transcription. No formal training is required, but it can help to complete a postsecondary program that familiarizes you with medical office technology and terminology, among other relevant subjects. Alternatively, if you are interested in the information technology aspects of medical records analysis, a relevant career option is a job as a database administrator. In this job, you would maintain and secure important data for organizations in many different fields, not just medicine. However, it is important to note that you usually need to get a bachelor's degree for this job.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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