What is Medical Coding? What Does a Medical Coder Do? Starting Your Career as a Medical Coder!
The job of a medical coder is to update the patient record with standardized information for use in billing and data management. Therefore, a code must be assigned whenever a physician, nurse, or other healthcare provider provides a service. As an example, suppose you are a medical coder reviewing the medical record undergoing an X-ray.
Once the technician finishes the X-ray, they will document it on the patient’s chart. An image examination will determine whether a fracture or a sprain caused the injury, and a doctor may prescribe treatment such as a sling or cast.
Your responsibility is to assign specific codes to the medical office to bill the insurance company correctly. Therefore, analyzing medical charts and giving codes are your primary responsibilities.
Codes can aid patients when they need their insurance company to pay their claims, and proper coding can assist providers by ensuring they get reimbursed by the insurer quickly.
It’s imperative to know that medical billing and medical coding involve two different types of work. Depending on the size of the facility, billing and coding may be performed by both people or separate specialists.
While dividing the work between two jobs, the medical coder will be primarily responsible for updating patients’ health records and verifying their coding accuracy; in the meantime, the medical biller addresses claim with insurance companies and follows up on them throughout the day. To understand Medical Billing and Coding Services, check out this article, “What is Medical Billing and Coding Service, Cost, and Reason to Outsource Medical Billing?“
Various titles may be used to describe medical coders. Medical coder jobs are also known as:
· Medical coding auditor
· Medical coding analyst
· Diagnostic coder
· Medical coding specialist
· Clinical coding officer
Are there some characteristics common to successful medical coders?
Unlike other professions, medical coders do not have any “typical” prototypes. The field embraces people of all identities, ages, and experiences. Medical coders share some common characteristics that make them successful. Strong ethical standards are essential because the patient data they manage is highly confidential.
One little mistake in a medical code can lead to much larger problems. Medical coders must also be meticulous with their work. As a result, they must also remain focused because their work is repetitive yet essential. Aside from being efficient and even-tempered, their work is often tied to reaching production and accuracy goals.
Is it essential to have skills in medical coding?
There are a few technical skills for medical coders that they need, but transferable skills are also necessary. The data comes from real-time analysis of over 25,000 medical coding job posts from the past year, which revealed some of the top skills employers are looking for.
Medical coding skills to Master:
· Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance
· Medical coding
· Customer billing
· Health information technology
· CPT coding
· Inpatient coding
· Anatomy and physiology
· HCPCS coding
· Clinical documentation
Medical coders need to be proficient in the following transferable skills:
· Time management
· Computer literacy
· Microsoft Office®
· Analytical skills
Some of those transferrable skills might make you a promising candidate for a career as a medical coder. The list of technical skills is what a formal education teaches you, so don’t let it intimidate you.
Are you thinking about becoming a medical coder?
The information you just read has helped you gain a basic understanding of medical coding, its skills, and the vital role these professionals play in the healthcare industry. Medical jobs are expected to grow strongly over the next decade, making it an excellent option for those searching for a job in the medical field. However, when considering a healthcare career, you need to be prepared for what lies ahead.
Requirements for becoming a medical coder?
A bachelor’s or master’s degree is not necessary to prove proficiency, though it can strengthen an individual’s career. It would be best if you had a solid foundation in physiology, anatomy, and medical terminology. If you’d like to work as a medical coder, you’ll need to complete a coding course.
Several community colleges offer coding training, and online learning centers offer this service. The majority of training programs are 18 to 24 months long. In addition, the American Association of Professional Coders, a credentialing body for medical coders, offers several medical coding courses.
It would be best to prepare for the certification exam to become a certified professional coder through your study program. The certificate proves your understanding of coding rules and your ability to translate patient charts into insurance billing correctly. Coders with less than two years of experience earn the CPC-A (apprentice) designation until they are fully qualified. In addition, your knowledge of physician offices (CPC), outpatient facilities (CPC-H), or payers (CPC-P) will be tested in AAPC examinations.
Certifications for specific medical specialties are available based on the type of service rendered, including evaluation and management, general surgery, and obstetrics and gynecology. The certification status must be maintained through continuing education.