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Registry Perspectives

Standard Occupational Classification

NCRA submits application to establish a special SOC code for medical registrars.

The National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) submitted a proposal on July 21, 2014, to the Office of Management and Budget to establish a distinct detailed occupation code of "Medical Registrar" in the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. The new code will ensure accurate data on the medical registrar workforce and related salary trends. Medical registrars are currently classified under SOC 29-2071, Medical Records and Health Information Technicians. The scope of occupational responsibility for medical registrars is far more advanced and technical than that of other occupations associated with the code.   

Medical registrars are data information specialists who collect and analyze data for a variety of diseases and conditions, including, but not limited to, birth defects, cancer, cardiac, clinical trials, exposure, immunization, quality of care, and trauma. To ensure accurate and high-quality data collection, medical registrars require specialized education, certification and experience.

NCRA strongly believes that a specific SOC code for medical registrars would ensure that the statistics on the medical registry workforce will be more accurate, providing a clearer understanding of the current and future workforce needs; correct salary information will help recruit and retain qualified individuals to this important profession; and skilled personnel will be hired to fill cancer registrar positions at the central and hospital levels.

The recent changes in the healthcare industry, including the emerging health informatics professions and healthcare reform's emphasis on data-driven care and treatment, have increased the roles and responsibilities of medical registrars. According to NCRA president Terri Richardson, CTR, "More data are being collected and those data are being 'mined' to improve prevention, care, and treatment programs as well as manage costs. We need accurate workforce and salary data to develop training and recruitment initiatives to ensure there are enough qualified medical registrars to meet the growing demand."  

The SOC is revised every ten years to coincide with the decennial census. The revision is a multi-year process designed to ensure that the occupations listed to describe the workforce in the next census are accurate. Proposals to update the occupations listed for the 2020 census were due July 21, 2014. An extensive review process will be conducted over the next several years with a decision made in 2018.

NCRA has prepared materials to help its members and other medical registrars understand the importance and the process for establishing a distinct detailed SOC occupation code for "Medical Registrars." To access these resources, including a video outlining NCRA's rationale and the SOC process, visit www.ncra-usa.org/SOCcode


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