Medical Records Abstractor


Job Description:

Westat is currently seeking motivated individuals with a commitment to excellence to work as Medical Record Abstractors (MRAs) on DAWN. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) is a data collection effort sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). DAWN will collect emergency department data from a sample of hospitals across the U.S., with a focus on identifying sentinel drug events. In the wake of the opioid epidemic, SAMHSA’s focus for DAWN is to be a true early warning system for drug-related events, identifying new and emerging drugs and use patterns, and for this surveillance data to be quickly available to participating hospitals and health officials at the local level.

The primary role of the Medical Record Abstractor (MRA) is to review medical records in a sampled hospital’s emergency department(s), abstract specific information from a patient’s chart following the project’s case identification protocol, and enter the information into a data collection tool.

Basic Qualifications

Candidates must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be available to complete mandatory web-based home study training sessions prior to in-person training.
  • Be available to complete in-person training at the assigned hospital after completing the  home study.

Minimum Requirements

  • Be available for the data collection period through September 2020.
  • Be available to work up to 40 hours per week on a schedule defined by the assigned hospital, when work is available. The schedule may require daytime, evening, nighttime, and/or weekend hours.
  • Have one year of medical records abstraction or similar experience.
  • Be able to work independently in a hospital environment and maintain a good rapport with hospital staff.
  • Have excellent computer and math skills.
  • Be familiar with medical terminology and medical records.
  • Be able to read medical charts in English.
  • Have excellent communication skills.
  • Be able to work consistently in an organized manner. Must be conscientious, dependable, and able to work well with others.
  • Be able meet the physical requirements of the position, with or without reasonable accommodations:
    • Lift and/or carry 15 pounds of study materials and
    • Be able to kneel/bend to access and lift hard-copy files if required by hospital protocols.
  • Have regular and reliable access to telephone service with a long-distance calling feature, either landline or cellular.
  • Have regular and reliable high-speed Internet connection.
  • Have a valid (current) driver’s license that is not under suspension.
  • Have regular and reliable access to an insured vehicle.
  • Adhere to the requirements for confidentiality as required by SAMHSA.
  • Be willing to comply with all training requirements, which include attending an out-of-town refresher training once a year and attending a training (lasting at least 2 days) with the Field Manager at the assigned hospital.

Preferred Criteria

  • At least one year of experience in a job with exposure to medical terminology, such as a medical billing coder or emergency medical technician, or work in a hospital or doctor’s office.
  • Knowledge or experience with electronic health record systems.

Any offer of employment may be contingent upon receipt of acceptable results from a post-offer background screening, if required for this position, based on the specific position which may include, for example, identity verification, employment history, or criminal records history.

This is a full-time hourly, nonexempt position initially eligible for health insurance. This position is eligible for overtime pay. Working on this study can be a fascinating, rewarding experience. If you are a reliable self-starter, this position may be right for you.

Westat is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship status, genetic information, gender identity, or any other protected status under applicable law.

 Instructions for Resume Submission:

To learn more about this position and apply, go to and enter Job ID 15266BR.

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