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Data entry is a system with entering or keying data/information to capture records from handwritten documents, manuscript, printed document, other paper based documents, another computer program, raster image, spreadsheet document and organize   store data into another form or database. Data entry may be performed by simply typing, scanning or applying voice recognition software.

In data entry system a computer programs word processing programs are required to manage various kinds of information (insurance claims, invoices, medical information, handwritten notes or order forms). There are various types of data entry operators that may range from word processor, typist, transcriber, keypunch operator, typist, coder, transcriber, data entry operator etc.

Data entry operators have to perform versatile functions varying from simple typing/word processing, entering numbers related to prices or statistics. Besides data entry operators have to accomplish various other functions as for example clerical or secretarial work like answering phones and organizing business documents, faxing, mailing documents, copying and drafting letters.

Corporations, small businesses, banks, insurance, telecommunications, market research firms, accounting firms, human resources, healthcare industries, customer service providers etc. require the expertise of a data entry professional to carry out their day-to-day business effectively.

Skills
Generally all data entry professionals should be well versed with computer technology as well as scanners, copiers and calculators. He should have outstanding typing and numeric key entry skills of 30 to 45 words per minute. Knowledge of database software, spreadsheets and word processing is also necessary.

Besides a data entry operator should have the ability to read off longhand, handwritten and typewritten documents and should possess high accuracy level. Data entry operators, who are associated with Customer care services, should have excellent communication skills with spelling, grammar and punctuation. . Data entry operators must be familiar with basic office equipment like computers.

Advance level data entry professionals like Medical coders alias medical billing specialists who work in healthcare industries for recording patient data and medical procedures for insurance and billing purposes, should have a very specific set of skills so as to assemble medical data rapidly and competently into proper documents. A medical data entry operator must aware of the different codes, medical terms and abbreviations relevant to procedures and diagnoses. These codes are useful for insurance companies to reimburse payments towards ill and injured patients. Further medical data entry professional must acquire a strong sense of professional standards and communication skill to cooperate with medical personnel and even patients in a better way.

Education & Certification
Data entry operators must possess a high school diploma. As an added advantage he can undergo a certificate program to make bright career in the industry. A certificate program may include the courses like basic computer programs, Word processing, Office and computer calculations, Microcomputer application, workplace communication etc. As an extra advantage to their career, some data entry professionals may require certification in Microsoft Office to gain the expertise in Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access and Outlook. This type of certification may be obtained directly from upon completion of at least one certification exam.

Other than learning basic data entry program, the data entry professionals may also learn about desktop publishing, merging documents, creating business reports, database management and preparing spreadsheets, current computer software, create presentations, schedule appointments and organize information.

The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the Board of Medical Specialty Coding (BMSC) offer certification for medical coders. A degree program in medical coding, billing and data entry contains the courses that spotlight on the following:-

  • Healthcare environments
  • Medical terminology
  • Coding systems
  • Reimbursement methods
  • Pathophysiology
  • Coding principles
  • Government regulations
  • Medical records

Job Experience
Entry-level workers should not require any experience and should possess good typing skills. Advanced level data entry professional should have one to three years of experience. Many companies organize on-the-job training programs to enhance the skill of data entry professional.