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Release of information clerks (ROICs) are critical positions in many medical organizations, as they handle records requests for all present and former patients in a particular facility or group. They work for doctor’s offices, hospitals and other medical facilities. Typical job duties go beyond simply filing and accessing records. In fact, ROICs are responsible for reviewing and processing information requests, preparing new patient charts, file maintenance and other duties related to maintaining patient records.
The most important duty of the ROIC is reviewing and processing information requests from patients, physicians and other medical professionals, insurance companies and others. First and foremost, this task involves establishing the legitimacy of the request by verifying that the requester has a right of access to the information. Both state and federal regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), govern the release of patient information to third parties. It is the ROIC’s responsibility to ensure that information is not released to unauthorized entities. Once legitimacy is established, the ROIC copies the records from the files and carries out the transfer.
The ROIC is also responsible for preparing charts for new patients. This involves prepping the charts with standard forms and verifying the patient’s medical information. In addition, the clerk also delivers patient charts to the appropriate destination.
Given the number of files the ROI handles, file maintenance is an important function of the job. The clerk must make sure all check-ins and checkouts of files are recorded, with every file being accounted for at all times. Excellent organization is a critical skill-set for an ROIC.
Multiple skills, including being detail-oriented, having the ability to work in a fast-paced environment, handle a large workload, and good customer service, are needed to be an effective ROIC. Great communication skills are also important, as the ROIC must interact with physicians, hospital staff, patients and others. The clerks have a great deal of responsibility, as they hold the keys to information used to deliver health care to patients. Without ROICs, medical facilities could not function efficiently.
In the majority of medical organizations, the ROIC is one of the first (if not the first) person patients have contact with. Consequently, it is essential for them to have a polished appearance, representative of the organization. In addition, ROICs must also be patient and have the knowledge to answer any questions a patient might ask.