It is the responsibility of an abstractor to distill large amounts of complex information into a summary that is quickly read and easily understood. As such, abstractor jobs are most common in fields like health care and law, which produce high volumes of records that are heavily jargonistic. In most instances, it is beneficial for one to become an abstractor in a field in which he or she is familiar. Certain talents, such as a strong writing ability and attention to detail, are needed by abstractors in any area of business.
Within the medical field, abstractor jobs often involve working with electronic medical records (EMR) to eliminate duplicate records, provide easy access to the most important aspects of a patient’s medical history, and prepare summaries for insurance carriers and other outside organizations. In addition, abstractors are frequently recruited to organize data from clinical trials. Case studies and other papers published in medical journals are often prepared with the help of an abstractor as well.
A medical abstractor job generally requires at least an associate's degree in a medically related field, such as nursing or pharmacology. This is due, in large part, to the complexity of terminology that must be summarized. Frequently, clinical experience is also required of prospective employees.
While abstractors in the health care industry usually work with the information provided to them, abstractor jobs in the legal field often require independent research as well. Title abstractors, for example, regularly double as title researchers as well. These individuals can often be found in local courthouses examining every public record associated with a particular property. After the investigation is complete, the abstractor compiles his or her results into a brief that can be understood by all parties involved in a property sale.
Like medical abstractors, individuals applying for abstractor jobs in the legal field should have some familiarity with law. In most cases, paralegal and law students fill these positions, but those with English degrees may also be considered. Frequently, title abstractors work from home as independent contractors.
Applicants for abstractor jobs should be well organized and familiar with terminology that is common in the field in which they will be employed. A clear and concise writing style is essential, as is the ability to work independently. As these positions usually involve pulling the most important facts out of a veritable mountain of paperwork, the ability to quickly scan a record for pertinent information is invaluable.