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

Illustration of a tablet with medical icons on the screen.

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 an electronic medical records (EMR) abstractor/auditor job.

Demand is strong for the electronic medical records (EMR) abstractor/auditor position, so this is a career path worth evaluating to see if it's a match for you. Let’s take a look at the typical EMR abstractor/auditor salary benchmarks and EMR job description for these data dynamos:

What does an EMR abstractor/auditor do?

These professionals 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 EMR abstractor/auditor 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 offices, you’ll be asked to handle routine correspondence with other offices.

What skills are employers looking for?

Employers are looking for professionals with keen analytical and project management skills, supplemented by an understanding of medical terminology and the healthcare system in general. You’ll need these skills to help you identify which details are crucial to patient care and therefore should be included in abstracts. Attention to detail in this role is crucial: One tiny fact left out of a patient file could have life-or-death consequences.

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

Not surprisingly for this role, 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.

How much is an EMR abstractor/auditor salary?

The OfficeTeam 2017 Salary Guide predicts that an electronic medical records abstractor/auditor salary will see an increase of 3.7 percent over 2017, resulting in a range of between $34,000 and $43,250. You can find more detailed salary information for EMR jobs specific to your region using our Salary Calculator.

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This post was originally published in December 2014 and has been updated to reflect more current information.