17 HIM Clerk Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a HIM clerk, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

In the healthcare industry, the health information management (HIM) department is responsible for the maintenance and security of patient medical records. HIM clerks work in this department, ensuring that patient records are complete and accurate.

If you’re hoping to land an HIM clerk job, you’ll likely need to go through a job interview. This meeting gives you a chance to show the interviewer that you have the skills and qualifications they’re looking for.

To help you prepare, we’ve put together a list of HIM clerk interview questions and answers. These questions cover a range of topics, including your experience working with medical records, your customer service skills, and your knowledge of healthcare privacy laws.

Are you familiar with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA?

HIPAA is a federal law that protects the privacy of an individual’s health information. Employers ask this question to make sure you understand HIPAA and how it applies to your job duties. In your answer, briefly explain what HIPAA is and why it’s important for healthcare professionals to follow its guidelines.

Example: “HIPAA is a federal law that requires all medical providers to protect their patients’ private health information. This means we can’t share any patient records without their consent unless they’re authorized by state or federal law. I am familiar with HIPAA because I worked at my previous employer as a receptionist. My role was primarily to ensure our office followed HIPAA regulations. I would often remind doctors and nurses about HIPAA when they were discussing patients in front of me.”

What are the different types of medical records you may be responsible for as a HIM clerk?

The interviewer may ask you this question to assess your knowledge of the different types of medical records and how they are used. You can answer this question by naming the different types of medical records, what each type is used for and which ones you have experience with.

Example: “There are three main types of medical records I may be responsible for as a HIM clerk. The first is an inpatient record, which includes all information about a patient’s stay at the hospital. This record contains information like their name, age, gender, diagnosis, treatment plan and discharge instructions. The second type is outpatient records, which include any information about a patient who has visited the hospital but was not admitted overnight. These records contain similar information to inpatient records, but also include things like billing information and test results. Finally, there are physician notes, which are documents that doctors write after seeing patients. They include important information about the patient’s health and treatment.”

How would you describe the importance of patient confidentiality?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your understanding of the importance of confidentiality and how you would apply it in a healthcare setting. Your answer should demonstrate that you understand the value of keeping patient information private, including any steps you would take to ensure privacy while working as an HIM clerk.

Example: “I believe that maintaining patient confidentiality is one of the most important responsibilities I have as an employee at a hospital or medical facility. If someone shares personal details with me about their health, I will do everything I can to keep that information private. For example, if I am taking notes during a doctor’s appointment, I will make sure my back is turned away from other patients so they cannot see what I’m writing. I also always use discretion when speaking with others about patients.”

What is your experience with using medical terminology?

The interviewer may ask this question to assess your experience with medical terminology and how you use it in your daily work. Use examples from previous experiences where you used medical terminology to complete tasks or communicate with coworkers, patients or other healthcare professionals.

Example: “In my last role as a HIM clerk, I was responsible for entering patient information into the electronic health record system. This required me to understand the meaning of various terms that were specific to their diagnosis or treatment plan. For example, when entering a patient’s blood pressure measurement, I had to know what each number meant so I could enter it accurately into the system. I also communicated regularly with physicians about patient care plans and test results, which required me to be familiar with medical terminology.”

Provide an example of a time you had to provide a patient with bad news.

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your bedside manner and how you interact with patients. They want to know that you can be compassionate when delivering bad news, but also that you’re able to provide solutions or alternatives for the patient.

Example: “When I was working in a hospital setting, I had a patient who came in complaining of chest pain. After performing several tests, we discovered he had an aggressive form of cancer. The patient’s family members were all there at the time, so I gathered them together and explained what we found. I told him that we would do everything we could to treat his illness, but that it might not be curable. He asked if I could recommend any specialists, and I gave him some names of doctors I knew personally.”

If a patient was admitted to the hospital and you couldn’t find their records, how would you react?

This question is a great way to assess how you would react in an emergency situation. It’s important for the interviewer to know that you can handle stressful situations and remain calm. In your answer, try to demonstrate that you are confident in your ability to solve problems and find solutions quickly.

Example: “If I couldn’t find a patient’s records, I would first ask my colleagues if they had seen them. If no one could help me, I would immediately call the department manager or supervisor to let them know what happened. Then, I would start looking through all of the places where I may have put the file down. Once I found it, I would make sure everything was there and then give it to the person who needed it.”

What would you do if you noticed a mistake in a patient’s medical records?

This question is an opportunity to show your attention to detail and ability to work independently. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific time you noticed a mistake in a patient’s records and how you handled the situation.

Example: “When I was working as a medical assistant at my current hospital, I noticed that one of our patients had been diagnosed with diabetes when they were actually type 1 diabetic. This could have led to improper treatment if not caught quickly, so I immediately notified my supervisor who then informed the doctor on duty. The doctor ordered additional tests for the patient and everything turned out fine.”

How well do you perform under pressure?

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your ability to perform well in a high-pressure environment. High-intensity situations can be common for healthcare professionals, so it’s important that you are able to remain calm and focused when working under pressure. In your answer, try to explain how you manage stress and stay productive even when the situation is challenging.

Example: “I have worked in a busy medical office before, where I was responsible for managing patient records and scheduling appointments. During my time there, we had several emergencies come in at once, which caused our waiting room to become very crowded. While this was stressful, I knew that I needed to focus on my work and prioritize patients who were most in need of care. I remained calm and organized throughout the day, and by the end of the shift, everything was back to normal.”

Do you have experience working with hospital software?

The interviewer may ask this question to see if you have experience with the software they use at their hospital. If you do, share your experience and explain how it helped you perform your job duties. If you don’t have experience working with hospital software, you can talk about other types of software you’ve used in previous positions.

Example: “I worked as a HIM clerk for five years before moving to my current position. During that time, I learned how to navigate our hospital’s software system. It was helpful because I could quickly find patient information when needed. In my current role, I work with different software but still rely on my knowledge of the hospital’s software to help me complete tasks.”

When a patient’s family member or friend comes to visit, how do you direct them to the correct location to find the patient’s information?

The interviewer will likely ask you a question like this to assess your interpersonal skills and ability to work with patients’ families. Your answer should demonstrate that you can communicate effectively, listen carefully and respond in a helpful way.

Example: “If the visitor asks where they can find information about their loved one, I direct them to our patient directory. If they want more specific information, such as what floor their loved one is on or how to get there, I offer to call an elevator for them so they don’t have to wait in line. If they are looking for a specific piece of information, such as test results or discharge instructions, I tell them I am not allowed to give out any confidential information but I can help them locate it in the medical record system.”

We want to improve our communication with patients. Describe a strategy you would use to improve patient communication.

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your communication skills and how you can help improve the organization’s patient care. In your answer, explain a strategy that you would use to ensure patients receive timely information from the healthcare facility.

Example: “I believe it is important for patients to understand their diagnosis and treatment plan. I would implement a system where all medical professionals document their interactions with patients in an online portal. This way, if a patient has any questions or concerns, they can easily access our records and speak with their doctor or other healthcare professional. I also think it’s beneficial to have a designated staff member who responds to patient inquiries within 24 hours.”

Describe your experience with data entry.

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your experience with data entry and how you feel about it. This is because the job of a human resources clerk often includes entering information into databases, spreadsheets or other systems. When answering this question, try to focus on what you enjoy about data entry and what skills you have that make you good at it.

Example: “I’ve worked as a human resources clerk for five years now, so I’m very comfortable with data entry. In fact, I find it quite enjoyable because I like organizing information and making sure it’s accurate. I also have some advanced skills in data entry, such as using macros and shortcuts to enter information quickly.”

What makes you an ideal candidate for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their company. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills and experiences that make you an ideal candidate for this position. Focus on highlighting your soft skills such as communication, organization and teamwork.

Example: “I am passionate about helping others, which is why I became a healthcare professional. In my previous role, I worked with patients who were going through difficult times in their lives. I always made sure to listen to them and provide compassionate care. This experience taught me how important it is to be empathetic when working with people. I also have excellent organizational skills, which makes me an ideal candidate for this position.”

Which medical terminology programs are you most familiar with?

The interviewer may ask this question to determine your level of experience with medical terminology. If you have previous experience working as a HIM clerk, the interviewer will likely want to know which programs you used and how well you performed in those roles. If you do not have any prior experience, the interviewer will want to know which programs you are familiar with and whether you would be able to learn them quickly if hired.

Example: “I am most experienced with MediTerm Pro and Terminology Solutions. I find these two programs to be very useful for finding accurate definitions and synonyms for medical terms. In my last role, I was responsible for updating patient records using both of these programs. I also found that they were helpful when communicating with other healthcare professionals.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of the job?

This question is a great way for employers to learn more about your priorities and how you would approach the job. When answering this question, it can be helpful to think about what you enjoy most about working as an HR clerk.

Example: “I believe that the most important aspect of this role is ensuring that employees are treated fairly. I take pride in my ability to work with people who may have different opinions or ideas than me, and I am committed to finding solutions that make everyone feel respected. I also think it’s important to maintain confidentiality when handling sensitive information. I always strive to protect private data so that employees can trust me.”

How often do you update patient records?

This question can help the interviewer determine how comfortable you are with technology and your ability to work independently. Your answer should show that you have experience updating patient records, but it’s also important to mention any challenges you may have had in the past.

Example: “In my previous role as a HIM clerk, I was responsible for updating patient records every time a doctor made changes or additions to their files. This included adding new information about patients’ diagnoses, treatment plans and test results. I typically updated patient records at least once per day, although sometimes there were days when I would update them multiple times.”

There is a discrepancy in a patient’s medical records. How do you handle it?

This question is an opportunity to show your problem-solving skills and ability to work with patients. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a specific situation where you had to resolve a discrepancy in patient records.

Example: “I once worked with a patient who was receiving treatment for multiple conditions. The medical record showed that the patient’s blood pressure medication should have been discontinued two months prior. However, the patient still had not received their last prescription of the medication. I spoke with the physician about the issue, and they informed me that they were unaware of the discontinuation date. They then ordered another prescription for the medication.”


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