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Medical and Health Services Managers

Medical and health services managers, also called healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, plan, direct, and coordinate medical and health services. They might manage an entire facility or specialize in managing a specific clinical area or department, or manage a medical practice for a group of physicians. As healthcare changes, medical and health services managers must be able to adapt to changes in laws, regulations, and technology. Show Details

Duties

Medical and health services managers typically do the following:

  • Work to improve efficiency and quality in delivering healthcare services
  • Keep up to date on new laws and regulations so the facility complies with them
  • Supervise assistant administrators in facilities that are large enough to need them
  • Manage finances of the facility, such as patient fees and billing
  • Create work schedules
  • Represent the facility at investor meetings or on governing boards
  • Keep and organize records of the facility’s services, such as the number of inpatient beds used
  • Communicate with members of the medical staff and department heads

In group medical practices, managers work closely with physicians, nurses, laboratory technicians, and other healthcare employees. For more information, see the profiles on physicians and surgeons, registered nurses, and medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians.

Medical and health services managers’ titles depend on the facility or area of expertise in which they work. The following are some examples of types of medical and health services managers:

Nursing home administrators manage staff, admissions, finances, and care of the building, as well as care of the residents in nursing homes. All states require them to be licensed; licensing requirements vary by state.

Clinical managers manage a specific department, such as nursing, surgery, or physical therapy and have responsibilities based on that specialty. Clinical managers set and carry out policies, goals, and procedures for their departments; evaluate the quality of the staff’s work; and develop reports and budgets.

Health information managers are responsible for the maintenance and security of all patient records. They must stay up to date with evolving information technology and current or proposed laws about health information systems. Health information managers must ensure that databases are complete, accurate, and accessible only to authorized personnel.

Assistant administrators work under the top administrator in larger facilities and often handle daily decisions. Assistants might direct activities in clinical areas, such as nursing, surgery, therapy, medical records, or health information.

Medical Records and Health Information Technicians

Medical records and health information technicians organize and manage health information data by ensuring its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper and electronic systems. They use various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories. Show Details

Duties

All technicians document patients' health information, including the medical history, symptoms, examination and test results, treatments, and other information about healthcare provider services. Medical records and health information technicians' duties vary with the size of the facility in which they work.

Medical records and health information technicians typically do the following:

  • Review patient records for timeliness, completeness, accuracy, and appropriateness of health data
  • Organize and maintain data for clinical databases and registries
  • Track patient outcomes for quality assessment
  • Use classification software to assign clinical codes for reimbursement and data analysis 
  • Electronically record data for collection, storage, analysis, retrieval, and reporting
  • Protect patients’ health information for confidentiality, authorized access for treatment, and data security

Although medical records and health information technicians do not provide direct patient care, they work regularly with physicians and other healthcare professionals. They meet with these workers to clarify diagnoses or to get additional information to make sure that records are complete and accurate.

The increasing use of electronic health records (EHRs) will continue to change the job responsibilities of medical records and health information technicians. Technicians will need to be familiar with, or be able to learn, EHR computer software, follow EHR security and privacy practices, and analyze electronic data to improve healthcare information as more healthcare providers and hospitals adopt EHR systems.

Medical records and health information technicians can specialize in many aspects of health information. Most work as medical coders, sometimes called coding specialists, or as cancer registrars.

Medical coders typically do the following:

  • Review patient information for preexisting conditions such as diabetes
  • Retrieve patient records for medical personnel
  • Work as a liaison between the health clinician and billing offices

Cancer registrars typically do the following:

  • Review patient records and pathology reports for completeness and accuracy
  • Assign classification codes to represent the diagnosis and treatment of cancers and benign tumors
  • Conduct annual followups to track treatment, survival, and recovery
  • Analyze and compile cancer patient information for research purposes
  • Maintain facility, regional, and national databases of cancer patients
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