What Skills Do You Need to Be an Electronic Medical Records Abstractor/Auditor?

By Robert Half January 22, 2019 at 8:00am

Do you have an outstanding eye for detail? Are you familiar with medical terminology? Do you like using the latest technology? If so, you might want to consider a job as an electronic medical records specialist.

If this is a career path you're considering, take a look at the electronic medical records (EMR) abstractor/auditor job description and EMR salary benchmarks for these data dynamos.

Are you hiring for a healthcare administrative role? We can help!

What is an abstractor?

EMR abstractor/auditors select and extract data from patient records for a variety of purposes, often as part of healthcare reporting requirements, such as the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS), a widely used set of performance measures in the managed care industry.

Today, the abstractor job is heavily influenced by the shift by healthcare systems, hospitals, medical offices and health plans to electronic medical records. Bringing a keen eye for minutiae and strong software knowledge, these professionals help healthcare offices update their record keeping using the latest technology.

What are the daily responsibilities?

The job duties of an electronic medical records auditor/abstractor include reviewing patient files and abstracting (i.e., extracting) key data. These details are then entered into electronic files.

Sometimes you'll work with paper files, but you may also have to transfer data from one EMR to another. In some case, you’ll serve as a liaison with other offices, so you must keep your verbal and written communication skills sharp.

What salary can you expect?

According to the 2019 OfficeTeam Salary Guide, the midpoint salary for an electronic medical records specialist in the United States is $32,250. You can find more detailed salary information for EMR jobs specific to your region using our Salary Calculator.

What skills are healthcare employers looking for?

Just as they are with medical office administrator roles, healthcare employers are looking for administrative professionals with keen analytical and project management skills. In this industry, though, you'll also need an understanding of medical terminology and the healthcare system in general. These skills will help you identify what details are crucial to patient care and therefore should be included in abstracts. Attention to detail is crucial: One tiny fact left out of a patient file could have life-or-death consequences.

No matter what office you work in, your communication skills as an electronic medical records specialist need to be outstanding, because you’ll be interacting with internal and external staff, and sometimes directly with patients.

You’ll also need stellar keyboarding skills and must be very comfortable working on a computer. Skill using dual monitors is important, as you’ll sometimes be working between multiple databases. Experience with popular healthcare software, such as Allscripts, Epic, NextGen, Centricity, Meditech and Cerner is highly prized. Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite is also key.

Are you an administrative professional looking to break into this industry? Read what a recruiter says it takes to land healthcare admin jobs.

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