A batch of eight candidates received their Diploma in Medical Records Science at a function held at Madras Medical College on Tuesday.
It was the first batch to get the diplomas after the one-year course was restarted. The course was reintroduced after a gap of 22 years in 2009 to conform to the Medical Council of India norms. A six-month Medical Records Technician certificate course was also introduced at the Institute of Child Health last year.
Medical records are necessary to understand disease patterns in a locality. Everyday, the patient details are sent to the Directorate of Medical Education by every hospital. Maintaining records help in medico-legal cases and is also helpful while responding to queries raised under the Right to Information Act, Health Secretary V.K. Subburaj said.
Handing over the diplomas to the candidates, he said that it is necessary for a teaching medical institution to maintain medical records of the patients to receive MCI recognition. Six posts of Medical Records Officer at the Government General Hospital are vacant. The candidates who qualified the examination are employed as technicians in various hospitals across the State. They were deputed to the GH to attend the course. Health Department officials said the ICH is the only institution that meticulously maintains medical records.
“Until last year, only the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education Research in Puducherry offered these courses. Those who wanted to take it up had to apply for leave and study,” said J. Mohanasundaram, dean of GH. The course includes lessons on basic science, symptoms of common diseases, information on drugs and commonly used medical terms.
The students are taught disease classification and coding them. “For instance, HIV and each of its related complications will be coded. This will help generate statistics when the records are computerised. We can develop epidemiological data, using the record of patients’ addresses. It will also help the postgraduates in their dissertation work,” Dr. Mohanasundaram said.
The qualified candidates would be posted to the new medical colleges in Kanyakumari, Theni, Vellore and Dharmapuri. The existing institutions will continue to function with the existing technicians, most of whom have several years of experience, he said.