University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Employment and Training Institute

Brief Summary

Openings for Information Processing Workers in the Health Fields: Need as of May 2006

Prepared by Lois Quinn, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute, 2006

The May 2006 job openings survey conducted by the UWM Employment and Training Institute for the Private Industry Council (PIC) of Milwaukee County showed a significant number of jobs available for persons involved in information processing (e.g., secretaries, administrative assistants, receptionists, order and billing clerks, records clerks, auditing and accounting clerks, information clerks, and administrative support workers). An estimated 1,103 full-time and 511 part-time openings were available in the Milwaukee four-county metro area (i.e., Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties). These positions typically required high school completion, computer skills, and some college coursework.

This technical assistance paper examines the estimated 136 full-time and 152 part-time job openings in these occupations at health care and medical facilities, and particularly those openings requiring what Dave Wilson of the PIC has called "hybrid skills," that is, a mix of clerical, computer, communication, and interpersonal skills in an environment requiring understanding of medical terminology and procedures, use of independent judgment, and balancing of various work responsibilities. In some cases, the worker is also expected to provide direct patient nursing care.

These jobs offer several advantages for Milwaukee area workers. The openings are relatively easy to identify since most are with the major health care providers of the Milwaukee metro area, who post all of their job openings online. The full-time jobs and many of the part-time openings offer health insurance and other employee benefits. Like the nursing assistant and health aid positions, however, many of these jobs are part-time with variable hours.

  • Only 42% of the current health information job openings were for full-time work, with the majority (58%) listed as part-time positions. (By contrast, nearly 80% of information processing job openings with non-health employers are for full-time work.)

  • Full-time health information processing jobs made up 12% (or 136 openings) of the estimated 1,103 full-time openings in information processing as of May 2006.

  • At the same time, part-time health information job openings comprised over a fourth (29%, or 152 openings) of the estimated 511 part-time openings in the information processing area.

The appendix offers typical job descriptions and requirements for openings in health field information processing. The descriptions are taken from job openings posted online by the major health care providers in the Milwaukee metro area.

Many of the health information positions require a mix of skills, including:

  • Working knowledge of medical terms and procedures.
  • Computer experience, including use of basic office software.
  • Clerical skills, including typing skills and use of office equipment.
  • Ability to organize and process information.
  • Customer service, receptionist and communication skills.
  • Ability to work on a team.
  • Ability to multi-task and balance competing work assignments.

In some cases the position is combined with other hospital or clinic responsiblities, requiring

  • Nursing aide or patient care experience.
  • Medical records experience.

Often, completion of the Health Unit Coordinator technical diploma program is required or strongly preferred.

For more information, see the job openings survey and the ETI website.

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