5 Awesome Career Options for Medical Coders

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If you’re a medical coder looking to advance your career, you’ve got great options to consider that really build on your existing skills.

Let’s quickly go over what medical coders do on a daily basis. Essentially, you translate notes from doctors and healthcare providers into standardized medical codes. This allows for better data analysis to spot disease patterns and see what treatments work best. Accurate coding also makes sure healthcare providers get paid properly for caring for patients.

Coding is an important job, but after some time, you may want to expand your role. Here are 5 awesome career options for experienced coders to think about.

Career #1: Compliance Officer

As a compliance officer, you get to use your coding know-how to audit medical records and billing to make sure everything meets current healthcare laws and insurance rules. Some of your main tasks would be:

  • Checking that documentation and coding is accurate and follows all compliance standards.
  • Implementing new trainings, protocols, and system updates to fix any problems you find.
  • Staying on top of the latest regulations and guidance to educate the healthcare team.
  • Developing organizational policies and programs to meet all compliance needs.

You can get certified in this field as a Certified in Healthcare Compliance (CHC). a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP) or a Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO). While some compliance roles want applicants with a Bachelor’s degree, your real-world coding experience gives you a major leg up.

Career #2: Healthcare Fraud Investigator

If you like getting to the bottom of mysteries and puzzles, becoming a healthcare fraud investigator could be a very rewarding career shift. Every day you’d be:

  • Looking for odd patterns in billing, coding, and claims that might point to fraudulent activities.
  • Doing thorough investigations on any suspicious claims to see if misrepresentation occurred.
  • Presenting detailed fraud investigation findings and evidence to legal teams, insurance companies, and law enforcement.
  • Using cutting-edge investigative techniques and technology to uncover complex fraud schemes.

Helpful certifications include Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA) and Certified Healthcare Fraud Investigator (AHFI). Your keen eye as an experienced coder can definitely transition well into fraud investigations.

Career #3: Clinical Documentation Specialist

Do you enjoy mentoring others? As a Clinical Documentation Specialist (CDS) you get to optimize documentation and coding accuracy through auditing and training clinicians. Typical duties are:

  • Reviewing patient charts and identifying where better documentation is needed.
  • Educating physicians, nurses, and other providers on proper documentation methods to capture key details.
  • Training coding teams on accurate code selection and querying physician notes.
  • Driving continuous improvements in documentation and coding quality.

Relevant CDS certifications include Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist (CCDS), Certified Documentation Improvement Practitioner (CDIP) and Certified Physician Practice Manager (CPPM). While clinical backgrounds are great, talented coders have a ton to offer as CDS mentors in healthcare teams.

Career #4: Revenue Cycle Analyst

If you’re numerically inclined, becoming a Revenue Cycle Analyst allows you to boost healthcare organization revenue through data analytics. You would:

  • Perform revenue cycle analysis and pinpoint process efficiency opportunities.
  • Identify flaws in documentation, coding, or billing workflows that negatively impact revenue.
  • Implement new technologies, tools, and systems to improve revenue cycle performance.
  • Create action plans and guide organizational changes to correct revenue leakage.

Helpful certifications include Certified Revenue Cycle Representative (CRCR), Certified Patient Account Manager (CPAM) and Certified Revenue Cycle Professional (CRCP). Though finance experience is useful, seasoned coding pros already have the insights to excel as Revenue Cycle Analysts.

Career #5: Clinical Research Coordinator

Do you like fast-paced learning and being on the cutting edge of healthcare? Clinical research coordination could be an exciting role for you. Daily tasks include:

  • Recruiting, screening, and enrolling participants into clinical trials.
  • Collecting essential data and biological samples from trial participants.
  • Closely tracking regulatory compliance and ethics requirements.
  • Supporting the research team and coordinating complex trial logistics start to finish.

Relevant certifications are Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (ACRP), Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP). While clinical backgrounds are valued, experienced coders with healthcare system knowledge and patient skills can succeed here.

Medical Coding Career Options Are Everywhere

In summary, seasoned medical coding professionals have versatile skills that transfer well into diverse healthcare leadership roles – from compliance and fraud investigation, to revenue cycle and clinical research. Getting supplemental training and certification in a specialty area allows coders to pursue new career growth opportunities. Your communication abilities, critical thinking, healthcare operations knowledge, and data analysis capabilities as an experienced coder can definitely open doors. So keep an open mind to the many possibilities available to advance your career!

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