11 Skills For A Medical Records Officer (Ways To Highlight)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 16 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A medical records technician maintains and protects written and electronic health records in a hospital's medical records department. They may also manage the department's personnel, including medical coding specialists, records technicians and file clerks. If you want to apply for this role or advance your career, it is beneficial to understand their essential skills and how they relate to the job. In this article, we list 11 important skills for medical records officers, give tips for improving them, discuss how they apply in the workplace and share ways to highlight them in a job application.

What Does A Medical Records Officer Do?

Medical records officers are responsible for obtaining patient information from various healthcare professionals and converting it into permanent medical records in a single location. They often specialise in using healthcare coding systems, classifying medical information and updating patient records for insurance purposes. Their daily responsibilities may include obtaining patient information from healthcare professionals, categorising conditions, treatments and diagnoses and creating permanent medical records for reference. They may also be responsible for:

  • Transcribing medical information on symptoms, diagnoses, medications and tests from doctors' written or verbal notes

  • Categorising health conditions, treatments and diagnoses as per standardised healthcare codes

  • Regularly updating medical records for healthcare professionals and insurance companies to refer to

  • Working with healthcare providers to ensure the accuracy of medical records

  • Ensuring that patient profiles and medical records stay safe and confidential

11 Important Skills For A Medical Records Officer

The following are 11 critical skills that can help these professionals perform their roles effectively:

1. Documentation

Proper documentation of health records enables quick and easy access to relevant medical information, resulting in faster patient treatment. Medical records professionals are responsible for keeping detailed records in accordance with industry-specific requirements. This requires exceptional documentation skills.

2. Data entry

Professionals in medical records departments are responsible for the organisation and security of electronic data. They perform tasks such as entering and retrieving data, scanning documents and creating data backups. These tasks require basic data entry and computer skills.

Related: What Are Data Entry Skills? (13 Examples And How To Improve)

3. Customer service

Medical records specialists provide timely and accurate information to patients and medical professionals. This may require patience, empathy, positive thinking, active listening and problem-solving skills. Good customer service skills can enable you to excel in this role.

Related: Customer Service Soft Skills: Definition And Examples

4. Communication

Working with medical records requires excellent written and verbal communication skills. The role involves communicating clearly and professionally with patients, healthcare professionals, insurance representatives and legal authorities. Effective communication abilities enable these professionals to train, supervise and manage medical records personnel.

Related: Communication Skills In Leadership: Importance And Benefits

5. Collaboration

Collaboration skills refer to abilities that allow you to work well with others, especially when working towards achieving a shared objective or result. Medical records professionals frequently collaborate with other healthcare employees. It is essential that they collaborate effectively with other professionals, especially when helping to determine the best care options for a patient.

6. Understanding of medical terminology

Healthcare coding may differ depending on a patient's pre-existing conditions and health history. Medical recording requires understanding codes and the health conditions they relate to. Familiarity with typical ailments, treatments, tests and symptoms helps maintain data accuracy and integrity.

7. Organisation

Medical records professionals with organisational skills can develop effective workplace structures and maintain order. They are often responsible for maintaining accurate, up-to-date medical databases. They may also create employee schedules, which require them to align shift times with staff preferences and availability to ensure adequate coverage.

Related: Importance Of Organisation (Plus Types And Key Benefits)

8. Active listening

Active listening enables these professionals to listen intently to other healthcare staff and patients and ask relevant questions to get further information. It allows them to collaborate effectively with other healthcare professionals. Active listening is also beneficial when supervising other employees and looking for areas of improvement in recording processes.

9. Attention to detail

Medical records often contain sensitive information. When working with this data, it is crucial to ensure that it is accurate and only available to authorised personnel. Medical records professionals require excellent attention to detail to ensure accurate and detailed information.

10. Time management

Organisations often prefer hiring candidates who are well-organised and efficient in managing their time. Techniques like multitasking and prioritising can allow you to perform many diverse tasks, such as providing data to healthcare professionals, updating records and coordinating with various authorities, simultaneously and in a timely manner.

Related: 12 Simple Ways To Save Time And Accomplish More Daily

11. Trustworthiness

Medical records experts have access to patient information. This may include personal information on a patient's medical conditions, financial status and family structure. It is essential to be trustworthy to maintain the security and confidentiality of this information.

Related: Business Ethics: Definition, Principles And Importance

Tips For Improving Your Skills For This Role

Here are some tips for improving your skills:

Develop your interpersonal skills

A medical records professional requires interpersonal skills such as communication, collaboration and leadership. Assess your effectiveness in interacting with staff and patients. If you encounter challenges while managing your team or communicating with other medical professionals, try to reconsider your methods and think of different ways to approach the situation that may result in better outcomes. If you feel your interpersonal skills could benefit from further improvement, consider joining a short course or training programme.

Find a mentor

A mentor is an experienced, knowledgeable professional who can provide guidance. Contacting your professional network or attending networking events may help you find a mentor. Mentors can assist you in developing and enhancing your skills. They can also help you determine which skills require the most development.

Related: What Is A Mentor And How To Find the Right One for You

Listen to feedback

Be open to feedback from your patients, team or other healthcare professionals. When you receive constructive feedback, consider your actions and what you could do differently next time. Remind yourself that the aim of constructive feedback is to assist you, so listen attentively and consider the input carefully.

Medical Recording Skills In The Workplace

Here are a few ways you can apply your skills in the workplace:

  • Interacting with patients: Interacting with patients is a chance to practice your communication skills. You also require attention to detail to verify the accuracy of their medical records.

  • Conducting team meetings: Hosting regular meetings with the medical recording team to discuss challenges and improvements requires collaboration skills.

  • Updating patient information: If you collect patients' medical history or learn additional information about them, you can use your documentation skills to add it to their medical profile and ensure the healthcare team has access to accurate and up-to-date records.

  • Reconciling data: Data entry skills can help you input data from various sources and correct any discrepancies in medical records.

Ways To Highlight Your Skills

Here are some ways you can highlight your skills as a medical records professional during different phases of a job search:

On your resume

You can emphasise your medical recording skills in the professional summary, work experience and skills sections on your resume. In the work experience section, explain how you utilised your skills in previous jobs or internships. For example, you could mention how you used supervision skills to improve employee performance or communication skills to resolve a conflict between a healthcare professional and a patient attendant. Keep the skills list concise and include any applicable keywords from the job description.

Related: How To Write A Medical Resume (With Template And Example)

In your cover letter

You can highlight your most relevant skills in your cover letter to encourage the hiring manager to review your full resume. Typically, it is most effective to highlight one or two skills along with your relevant credentials. If you have received any awards for notable accomplishments or have worked on assignments that showcase your skills, include them in your cover letter.

Related: 9 Skills To Include In A Cover Letter (With Examples)

During your job interview

When preparing for the interview, review the job listing to find skills and keywords that match your work experience and skills. During the interview, you can highlight your healthcare and recording skills by describing past experiences. For instance, you can demonstrate your collaboration skills by discussing how you assisted a medical team as a recording clerk. To demonstrate your competency in a skill, consider providing an example of how you used it to overcome a challenge.

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