How to Become a Hospital Records Manager

Overview

In every business in the services sector, it is compulsory to maintain records to avoid problems in the future. Similarly, in hospitals, the role of records management is of utmost important especially to doctors, specialists and the patients. If accurate, thorough and updated records are not available, best treatments cannot be offered and there is a likely probability of misdiagnoses. The records certify the efficiency of the hospital’s management and lend trust to the patients. Also known as a Medical Records Manager, a Hospital Records Manager’s role is to ensure these records are in place, up-to-date and accessible to the hospital staff.

In the organizational hierarchy of a hospital, the Chief Executive Officer is at the top; the Deputy Chief comes after. Directly under the Deputy Chief, the Records Manager operates. The manager controls supervisors as well as clerks. It can be seen through the hierarchy that the role of a Hospital Records Manager is of considerable status. This is especially because of the degree of responsibility and decision making involved.

Related: Health Information Manager Career

Job Duties

Following duties are typically performed by the Hospital Records Manager:

  • Supervising the maintenance of medical records
  • Ensuring confidentiality of the patients
  • Managing and administering databases
  • Having a firm grasp of computer processes such as filing
  • Checking with legalities and regulations concerning the recordkeeping laws
  • Responding to patient queries
  • Developing an efficient system of storage, recording and disposal of records
  • Using Management Information Systems (MIS) to solve problems
  • Ensuring compliance with financial, legal and managerial requirements
  • Advising the top management on complicated decisions regarding the privacy and security of information
  • Negotiating with other departmental heads
  • Assisting in audits
  • Understanding and implementing proper coding
  • Handling the release of information

Hospital Records Managers can also participate in data analysis but it is normally not their top priority. These managers may also have to work alongside statisticians and other support staff as well. Overall, the job of a Hospital Records Manager requires considerable effort and expertise.

Work Environment

The Hospital Records Managers have to administer the clerks as well as the supervisors. They work mainly in hospitals. There is more mental strain as compared to physical exertion. Managers have several subordinates who report on daily problems. The managers have to then set goals and deadlines and report to the top management.

Hospital Records Managers are usually employed on a full-time basis. Other institutions where they might work are insurance companies, mental health facilities, nursing homes and public healthcare agencies.

Requirements

Education

Candidates need to have a Bachelor’s/Master’s degree in Health Information Management. For some establishments, this degree should be recognized by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). In other cases, the certification of Registered Health Information Administrator’s (RHIA) is required by organizations. However, this is not a mandatory or compulsory certification and varies across organizations. This certification lends professionalism and credibility to the candidate. It also demonstrates the candidate’s high level of expertise.

Organizations also require their managers to be knowledgeable in Management Information Systems, healthcare technology and managing subordinates. Managers who are pursuing their Bachelor’s can enroll in an entry-level position of recordkeeping to assist them with their jobs later in the future. Some jobs may also require 3-5 years of administrative experience.

Certification

While with most jobs certification is necessary, for aspiring Hospital Records Managers the certification increases chances of employment. As mentioned above, the RHIA is such a certification which verifies the level of expertise and credibility of the candidate. Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification can also be required by same organization. However, most organizations ask for either of the two: RHIA or RHIT.

For managers who aim to specialize in certain key responsibilities of a Hospital Records Manager, they have customized certifications. For example, for a Hospital Records Manager who wants to focus more on the security and privacy of information, a certification known as Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Security (CHPS) will be useful.

Skills and Traits

A Hospital Records Manager should be equipped with the following skills:

  • Computer skills: proficiency in Microsoft Word, E-mail, Database Management
  • Soft skills: people management, conflict resolution, problem-solving skills, and analytical skills
  • Traits: responsible, approachable, accountable, dependable

Salary

From a research of thousands of companies, the median annual pay of Hospital Records Managers is reported to be $82,147 for the year 2014. With bonus added, this salary becomes $82,662.

Job Outlook

Although the Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) reported the annual median salary to be $90,940 in 2013, the 2014 research shows a different outlook. This shows the unpredictability of the industry and the rapid changing market dynamics. However, the BLS also predicts 23% increase in jobs from 2012 to 2022; therefore, the outlook for this position seems positive.

Related Reading

Further Reading

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