As a medical billing instructor I am frequently asked how on earth to remember all the “facts” presented in our medical billing program. Whereas our CCO medical billing course is taught using a goldl-standard textbook with accompanying online videos with an instructor available to answer questions, it can be difficult to remember everything. I guide my students to not try to memorize every chapter before moving on. Our tests are open book and it is stressed to know how/where to find information rather than rote memorization. Having said that, on a medical billing board exam, one will be asked “factual” questions, as well as, application-based questions. So, what is the best way to “learn.”
Study Tips for Medical Billing Students
Personally, I like flash cards. There are many online FREE flashcard programs where you can make your own flash cards electronically or study other people's sets of cards. You can also make your own flash cards using 3×5 index cards. If you are using a textbook in your medical billing program, I would suggest reading the “Objectives” at the beginning of each chapter and when you “meet” an objective highlight it. When done the chapter, take the chapter review and/or quiz. Then make flash cards ONLY on the material that you don't understand or won't be likely to remember. An example would making cards on the objectives of each chapter, the review questions or quiz questions that you missed. What can be difficult for a student is to determine what is and is not an “important” fact. I stress to my students to ask themselves this question: Is this fact likely to be seen on a medical billing test? Test questions are usually going to be taken from the chapter objectives, reviews, and quizzes because these areas point out the most “important points.”
While working through your medical billing course plan a couple of hours per week for flash card making. Then, the idea is to periodically review your flash cards from previous chapters. Believe it or not, the most “tedious” of facts can remain in memory when you see them over and over in small chunks over time. Only put one fact or idea on an individual card. You want each card to be a bite-size of information. You may never remember at “will” all of your flash cards, but by using this method you will increase your retention of medical facts, history, etc. You can even have a set of cards about each of the CMS-1500 form blocks. I would not recommend for a medical billing student to make extensive notes or flash cards on the medical coding chapters. You need a cursory knowledge of medical coding as a medical biller. If you wish to increase your medical coding knowledge, it's a great idea to consider continuing your education and taking a full medical coding course.
Dawn Moreno, PhD, CBCS, CMAA, MTC. Lives in the beautiful Southwest United States and has been an instructor for medical coding/billing for the past 7 years. Interested in quality medical billing training?
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