Are you on the hunt for a new career in a growing industry? If so, then consider medical coding. This rewarding field can offer a wide variety of potential opportunities for employment and can be a satisfying profession for those with the right skills, mindset, and aptitude. Plus, it's a career on the rise—according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it's slated to grow faster than average through the next eight years.
Let’s learn more about what it’s like to be a medical coder and how you can get started.
According to the AAPC website, “Medical coding is the transformation of healthcare diagnosis, procedures, medical services, and equipment into universal medical alphanumeric codes. The diagnoses and procedure codes are taken from medical record documentation, such as transcription of physician's notes, laboratory and radiologic results, etc."
Basically, medical coders oversee all the codes that are used during the often-complex medical billing process. This is no simple task: qualified coders should have a thorough knowledge of anatomy and medical terminology and be familiar with several different coding systems (including CPT®, HCPCS Level II, and ICD-10-CM). On top of that, coders should know which codes are accepted by which insurance plans and how to be compliant while coding.
The first steps toward becoming a medical coder include ensuring that you meet the educational requirements to secure a position in the field, which can vary depending on the field, discipline, and work environment you choose to pursue.
According to the AAPC, the medical coding professionals should obtain the Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) credential. While earning a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree can strengthen a medical coder's career, it's not a set requirement. What is necessary is to have a solid foundation of anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology, which you will learn and master through earning the CPC® credential. "It's recommended for serious coders to complete a medical coding course of study and pass an exam to designate him or her as a CPC®. Employers know CPCs® are individuals who can perform medical coding tasks with the utmost proficiency and excellence,” according to the official site.
So, what would a typical day as a medical coder look like? You’d likely be working in the billing office in a focused healthcare setting, which can range from a hospital to a therapeutic or treatment center, doctor’s office, outpatient facility, nursing home, or similar facility, and will be coding patient files—an essential task in the field—to ensure appropriate and accurate billing. In sum, your coding will help document each patient’s treatment process from beginning to end, in an effort to secure reimbursement for all services rendered during each visit.
Still interested in pursuing a career as a medical coder? If so, then consider the helpful information provided here as your launching pad to help you plan your first steps on this exciting career journey. You can build on this information with the wealth of resources and information available online, and before long you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goal.