Theresa Real, RHIT, CTR, has worked with Registry Partners, Incorporated since November 2010. She began her employment as a Project CTR and was promoted to Quality Control Specialist in April 2012 and Quality Control Manager in January 2013. Theresa has worked on a variety of projects including state report only and accredited cancer program projects. She serves as a QC expert and provides education and mentoring services to client staff members in need.
Theresa’s work experience included medical transcription and medical secretary work prior to becoming a CTR where she has held positions at Susquehanna Health in Williamsport, PA as well as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY. She has worked in the cancer registry field for the past 13 years. Theresa earned her Associate of Applied Science degree with a focus in computer programming, from Pennsylvania College of Technology, her Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology from Rochester Community and Technical College. She earned her CTR credential in 2004 and her RHIT in 2008.
Theresa is a member of the National Cancer Registrars Association, Pennsylvania Association of Cancer Registrars and the American Health Information Management Association. She resides in Cogan Station, PA, with her husband of 37 years, Bill. They have 3 children, Denise, Robert & Laura and 4 grandsons, Trey, Nathaniel, Lucas and Dylan. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her grandsons, reading and traveling.
Q&A with Theresa:
Q: What do you find most challenging when abstracting?
A: The most challenging aspect of abstracting is being sure I have all the necessary information for a complete and accurate abstract. Sometimes we have to be detectives to root out the details of the patient’s diagnosis and/or treatment. If patient presents to multiple facilities for diagnosis and/or treatment we have to be sure we obtain all that information. Fortunately we have a great process at RPI to ascertain the necessary information.
Q: Do you have advice for new registrars or those seeking their CTR?
A: Always check the manuals. Do not try to memorize anything. There are many manuals, many rules and just as many exceptions to those rules. There have been times when I thought I knew a code or a rule only to find out, when I checked the manual, that I was wrong.
Be open to change. This is a field that sees constant change as research makes new discoveries every day. What you are coding today will not necessarily be what you will be coding next year.
Q: Do you have any funny stories regarding remote work?
A: No I really do not have any funny stories, but I can say that remote work absolutely fits my personality. Many days I stay in my PJs throughout most of the morning while working although now that our conference calls are held with Webcam I have to make an effort to dress and look presentable. Of course remote work does have disadvantages. I no longer have a reason to take a snow day.
Q: What do you enjoy about summer?
A: I enjoy the beach in the summer. I am not a sun-worshipper; in fact you will usually find me under an umbrella lathered with sun block. I love watching the ocean and I am in awe of its incredible sense of strength and beauty.