What is a Registered Health Information Technician?

Registered health information technician is a professional credential awarded by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). This designation is earned after meeting specific qualifications and passing the registered health information technician examination. Registered health information technician is a voluntary credential that individuals pursue to demonstrate their expertise in health information technology. While not required by law, some companies establish it as a condition of employment in this profession.

What does a registered health information technician do?

A registered health information technician is a position in the field of health information management. This professional is responsible for ensuring the accuracy, accessibility and security of medical records in the healthcare system.

A registered health information technician can perform the following tasks:

  • Verify that medical records are complete and accurately entered into a computer system
  • Use computer systems to compile and analyze patient information to determine ways to improve patient care and control costs
  • Code medical procedures with classification software for research and reimbursement
  • Protect the privacy of patient records
  • Specialize as a cancer registrar to collect and maintain data on cancer patients

How does a registered health information technician differ from a registered health information administrator?

While both credentials are awarded by AHIMA, they represent two different types of professionals. A registered health information technician uses technology to create and maintain health information, while a registered health information administrator uses health information to connect patients, healthcare providers and insurers.

Though an associate’s degree meets the requirements to take the registered health information technician examination, candidates for the registered health information administrator examination must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. With a more advanced educational background, a registered health information administrator is qualified to assume more managerial positions than a registered health information technician.

What are the requirements to become a registered health information technician?

To achieve the registered health information technician credential, a candidate must fulfill the conditions set by AHIMA. Applicants must meet one of the following eligibility requirements:

  • Successful completion of the academic requirements of a healthcare information management (HIM) program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) at an associate degree level; or
  • Successful completion of an HIM program with approval from a foreign organization with which AHIMA has a reciprocity agreement

Applicants for the registered health information technician examination must do the following:

  • Provide an official school transcript the first time they apply for the examination
  • Obtain AHIMA approval of academic qualifications
  • Pass a test of 150 multiple-choice questions in a period of 3.5 hours, demonstrating expertise in seven domains:
    • Data Analysis and Management
    • Coding
    • Compliance
    • Information Technology
    • Quality
    • Legal
    • Revenue Cycle

Students enrolled in registered health information technician programs accredited by CAHIIM are eligible for early exam testing if they meet this criteria:

  • Are current students enrolled in their last term of study
  • Are current students who have fulfilled their academic requirements but have not graduated
  • Are graduates waiting for their official transcripts

After earning the registered health information technician credential, this certification must be renewed every two years by completing 20 continuing education units (CEUs) and paying related recertification fees.

What is the employment outlook for a registered health information technician?

If you are interested in becoming a registered health information technician, you can expect a promising employment outlook, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This job category is expected to grow by 13 percent through 2026.

Projected Job Growth

13 percent

That is almost more than twice the 7 percent increase predicted for all occupations during that time. This growth is attributed to the increasing use of electronic health records and an aging U.S population that is bound to intensify the demand for medical services.

Median Annual Salary

38,040
Health Information Technician

The median annual wage for health information technicians is $38,040, according to the BLS. However, since a registered health information technician indicates a level of professional expertise, this credential may warrant higher salaries. The BLS predicts that job prospects are likely to be better than the norm for professionals with this designation.

A registered health information technician can find employment in a wide range of settings that use patient data or health information. Typical places of employment include:

  • Hospitals
  • Physicians’ Practices
  • Nursing Homes
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Public Health Agencies
  • Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Insurance Companies
  • Law Firms

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