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How To Become An Electronic Health Records Specialist

How To Become An Electronic Health Records Specialist

The medical world is evolving. From miracle medical breakthroughs to utilizing modern technology, public health organizations are constantly improving the quality of care. The adoption of electronic health records (EHR) is a groundbreaking initiative for care organizations to improve patient outcomes.

A certified electronic health record specialist is far more than an administrative assistant. Working in the healthcare field, specialists look after patient medical records and use technology to improve patient experiences. 

Follow our guide to learn the advantages and disadvantages of EHR and how you can get your electronic health records training. We'll share what electronic health record specialists do and how and why you should become one.

What are electronic health records?

Over the last few centuries, health information management was recorded using paper documentation and filing systems. In the modern digital age, paper records have become redundant. 

As healthcare organizations move away from paper medical records, they start using an EMR system. Electronic health records are the electronic documentation of medical records, and EHR improves the care provided to enhance the patient experience.

Medical records include every detail about the patients' health. Diagnoses, test results, medications, allergies, immunizations, and other critical medical information gets uploaded to an EHR system. They also include information about the patient's demographics and previous billing and administrative transactions.

A medical practice usually hires an electronic medical records specialist to complete the documentation of patient health and medical history. There are so many patient records to document electronically; hiring a specialist is cheaper and more practical. Similarly, backdated medical information gets uploaded to the system. 

Plus, the systems that electronic health records are filed on often require technical knowledge and understanding. An electronic health records specialist is then brought in to oversee this job. 

There are benefits and drawbacks to using electronic health records over paper medical records. However, the consensus is that EHR offer improved care for patients. 

How do electronic health records improve patient care?

The benefits of electronic health records suit healthcare providers and patients alike. Often, patients are under the care of doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals, and paper records are difficult to transfer quickly and efficiently between doctors and nurses. 

The advantage of electronic health records is that they are easy to access, which is crucial for healthcare providers and patients. Doctors and nurses can all use a universal system to access patient data before seeing the patient, improving efficiency. 

EHR systems improve patient care, as doctors better understand their details and can make better clinical decisions. EHR systems also reduce costly paperwork and storage fees. Recording medical records digitally save space that used to be taken up by files and folders. 

On average, each doctor has 2000 to 2500 patients, and each has a whole lifetime of immunization records, prescriptions, and diagnoses. EHR provides cost savings by storing all this in one place. 

Furthermore, EHR systems are easier to fix mistakes. Inevitably, medication errors occur. Although it is rare, it is easier to spot and correct electronic records than sifting through folders and crossing things out. As a result, this improves the quality of patient care immensely. 

One of the disadvantages of EHR is that consumer information might be at risk of poor cyber security. However, the adopted EHR systems are highly secure and safe, and it is improbable that electronic practice reports are at a higher risk than paper records. 

How are corrections made to the electronic health record? 

The advantages of EHR are endless. One crucial EHR benefit is the ability to amend records. Usually, a patient record contains medical codes, which helps to reduce medication errors. 

However, although rare, sometimes doctors and healthcare professionals make mistakes. People can misread handwriting, and spelling is not always accurate, which can significantly affect clinical outcomes. 

Sometimes this can be disastrous if a doctor prescribes the wrong medication. Luckily, EHR technology enables information exchanged between healthcare providers to be corrected. 

To amend record content, the healthcare professional enlists the assistance of the record specialist. Rather than editing an entry on the records systems, they usually have to add a new entry for audit purposes.

A specialist will explain the new entry on patient portals and correct the error on the patient's information. The patient portals make health information exchange more efficient as subsequent pharmacy technicians, doctors, or nurses can immediately see the correction. 

As well as protecting the patient, it saves time for the healthcare providers without making follow-up calls to pharmacies, improving productivity. 

What do electronic health records specialists do?

Electronic health records specialists are trained employees in charge of documenting patient records and information electronically. They ensure healthcare administration is accurate, high quality, and accessible across various EHR systems. 

Typically working in a medical office, a documentation specialist's duties usually include:

  • Coding and billing. 

  • Care coordination.

  • Information management.

  • Protect information for patient safety.

  • Manage insurance claims.

  • Create database.

  • Audit medical billing.

In addition, electronic health records specialists are experienced coders. As we have entire lifetimes of paper records, some dating back seventy or eighty years, there is a backlog. A large part of an electronic health records specialist's role might be to code and upload these old records. 

As EHR adoption has taken off in most healthcare facilities, the demand for a health information technician has risen. Specialists must have electronic health records training and apply for licenses before they can work, and it is a highly skilled and technical job.

Dealing with patient records is a highly sensitive, confidential role. Similarly, EHR specialists are trusted to translate doctor's notes into codes, requiring a certain level of medical knowledge and credibility. Licensing and exams ensure the protection of patient records.

Why become an electronic health records specialist?

There are many reasons to become an electronic health records specialist. If you have a background in care practice or work for health organizations, an EHR specialist is an excellent career choice. It would help if you had a strong understanding of health information technologies and the role of a medical assistant. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that mean salaries for electronic health records specialists were $45,240 in 2020. One of the key benefits of electronic records specialists is the job outlook, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites the job outlook as 9%, suggesting strong career progression.

The main benefit of EHR specialist careers is satisfaction. It is an enriching career to look after community health. Online programs train you to code patients' medical records and teach the medical terminology needed to look after a person's health. It is a highly technical job, requiring specific skills and qualifications. 

How to become a specialist?

A background in health sciences and information technology is advantageous if you become an electronic record specialist. Similarly, experience with business administration or project management might help your professional development.

You should develop your organization, communication, and efficiency skills. A specialist typically must have solid and meticulous attention to detail to avoid any errors in patient records. Similarly, a thorough understanding of medical terminology and medicines will be beneficial, so you know when it might be wise to question doctors about their notes. 

Usually, you will need an electronic health record specialist certification. The National Healthcareer Association offers a CEHRS certification exam, and this qualification enables you to create personal health records and use electronic health systems professionally. 

Practice managers often stipulate that an office specialist is certified by the NHA. Online courses teach you medical billing and coding, accessing patients' medical history, and using EHR software. 

At Courses for Success, we offer a Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist and Medical Terminology Online Course. This certificate program aims to give you a continuing education on medical terminology and using health records. It also provides you with the necessary skills to pass your CEHRS certification exam. 

Why Courses for Success?

Courses for Success offers over 10,000 online courses, all of which aim to help you in your personal development and career progression. Not only that, but you can also study them anywhere and at any time, and take them at your own pace, too.

You don't need career diplomas or specific experience to get started. From our coding courses and trading courses to design courses and developer courses, every course we offer will help boost your prospects, no matter who you are.

Beyond just the education itself, students will be issued a certificate online after completing each of the learning courses they do. Our online electronic health records specialist and medical terminology courses are no exception and are recognized by industry leaders. You could make a name for yourself by signing up for a Courses for Success short course today.

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