As surely everyone knows, it is the job of every medical coder to turn physicians' notes into standard medical insurance codes so claims can be processed and paid. If you're keen to details and love working with numbers, you'll survive in a medical coding career. However, it may not be as simple as typing 1, 2, 3 on your keyboard but it is not impossible either. A lot of challenges needed to be dealt with but it will become easier to overcome once you're willing to put in some great work at the front end. In this article, we've gathered some ways on how you can make the most of your medical coding career:
How to Become Successful in Medical Coding
- Enhance your learning with flashcards, online quizzes and other supplemental educational materials. Practice and deep understanding is essential to the job.
- Make sure you actually grasp what you are learning. The minimum won’t be enough to pass the certification exam.
- YouTube videos can be very helpful in furthering your understanding of a medical concept. The exercise at the end of the textbook readings will also boost your learning.
- When you are sure that you understand it, read it one more time.
- Study and review daily. This will help you translate information from your short term memory to the long term.
- Start your studies by reading the guidelines at the front of the book, use that information to prompt your learning.
Read more via Mastering Medical Coding is Not as Hard as You Think?
How to Find a Job in Medical Coding
The Required Skills to Work as a Medical Coder
Insurance companies use medical coding codes to know how much to charge a patient and how much to pay doctors, hospitals, and medical facilities. Everything from private insurance to Medicare needs employees with medical coding degrees to learn and enter each code appropriately. They also assemble patients’ health information including history, symptoms, exams, lab results, imaging tests, treatments, and any other healthcare provider services.
Other skills necessary for a medical coding degree include:
- Data entry
- Spreadsheet software
- Specialized billing and coding computer programs
With the current switch to electronic health records (EHR) medical coding technicians will be more in demand than ever before. These technicians will also be responsible for transferring of data securely and privately from paper records to electronic ones, and between digital databases.
Medical coding specialists also learn to code patient information for reimbursement from insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare. Several coding systems such as physician, long term, and ambulatory may be taught depending on the medical coding degree.
Read more via Guide to Online Medical Billing & Coding Degree
Advancing Your Career in Medical Coding
Certification as a medical coding specialist is voluntary but well worth pursuing. Candidates with AHIMA or AAPC credentials are strongly preferred by employers and often earn more. In fact, AAPC estimates that coders who hold its Certified Professional Coder (CPC) credential earn 20 percent more than their non-certified counterparts.
In addition to its entry-level CPC credential, AAPC offers a variety of certifications that demonstrate expertise in certain settings and branches of medicine. To become certified, candidates must hold a high school diploma or equivalent and pass an exam. Some AAPC credentials require additional work experience.
AHIMA offers two levels of certification: the entry-level Certified Coding Associate (CCA) and the mastery-level Certified Coding Specialist. A high school (or equivalent) diploma is the requirement for the CCA (certified coding associate) license. To obtain the CCS or CCS-P (Certified Coding Specialist – Physician-based), a candidate must satisfy one of the following:
- Holds a CCA and has at least one year of experience in the field
- Has finished a coding training program
- Has at least two years of experience in the field
- Holds a license from another certifying body and has at least one year of coding experience.
Read more via Becoming a Medical Coding Specialist
Advancing your career in medical coding, ie. you're CPC-certified, is just one of the many ways you can stay current, get hired quickly, and get paid more than non-certified coders. And you can NOW earn this degree easily through various online training programs that are AAPC or AHIMA-accredited.
Check out our medical coding certification courses to learn more about medical coding and billing programs.