Some medical records and health information technicians specialize in
coding patients' medical information for insurance purposes.
who specialize in coding are called health information coders, medical
record coders, coder/abstractors, or coding specialists. These
technicians assign a code to each diagnosis and procedure, relying on
their knowledge of disease processes. Technicians then use
classification systems software to assign the patient to one of several
hundred "diagnosis-related groups," or DRGs. The DRG determines the
amount for which the hospital will be reimbursed if the patient is
covered by Medicare or other insurance programs using the DRG system. In
addition to the DRG system, coders use other coding systems, such as
those required for ambulatory settings, physician offices, or long-term
Medical records and health information technicians also may specialize
in cancer registry. Cancer (or tumor) registrars maintain facility,
regional, and national databases of cancer patients. Registrars review
patient records and pathology reports, and assign codes for the
diagnosis and treatment of different cancers and selected benign tumors.
Registrars conduct annual followups on all patients in the registry to
track their treatment, survival, and recovery. Physicians and public
health organizations then use this information to calculate survivor
rates and success rates of various types of treatment, locate geographic
areas with high incidences of certain cancers, and identify potential
participants for clinical drug trials. Public health officials also use
cancer registry data to target areas for the allocation of resources to
provide intervention and screening.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.