Do you like the idea of working in healthcare and you enjoy working with numbers? Consider a career in medical coding.
Medical coders are healthcare specialists whose job is to record the correct information into patients’ medical records. They work with computers and codes, and make sure that the right codes for diagnoses and procedures go into the system. Medical coders play an essential role in our healthcare system.
Medical coding is a rapidly growing field these days. Here’s what you need to know about this important healthcare profession:
1. A new coding system is coming soon! In October 2015, healthcare organizations will adopt a new system called ICD-10. This replaces the outdated ICD-9 system.
The ICD-9 system has 19,817 codes. ICD-10 has 141,000 codes and will reflect all the changes and advances that have taken place in the medical field. As an example, the old system has no code for Ebola, but ICD-10 does. The move to ICD-10 will also allow the U.S. to take part in global health research.
2. Demand for medical coders is growing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job opportunities for medical records and health information technicians is expected to increase 21% by 2020.
3. A great career for people with an eye for detail!
Medical coding is all about paying attention to details. Coders analyze patient charts and input the correct codes. These codes are very important to ensure billing is correct and patient care is accurately recorded. Medical coders work with codebooks, coding software, electronic health records and other applications. They usually work alone, but sometimes they need to consult with doctors or other healthcare professionals to get accurate information. Typical job duties involve: managing medical records; managing patient portals; coding physician records for billing; processing and managing billing denials; processing requests for health information.
4. Salaries depend on your geographic location. Salaries start at around $40,000 per year and range as high as $60,000. California, Washington, D.C. and New Jersey are the highest paying states.
5. Many different types of companies hire medical coders. Most coding specialists work in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, physician offices, nursing homes and dental practices. You’ll also find job opportunities at insurance companies, in accounting and legal offices, and at government regulatory agencies.
6. Getting the right certification is simple! You will need a medical coding certificate to enter the field. Medical coders learn anatomy and physiology and medical terminology. In most programs, you can complete the course of study in 10 to 20 months, depending on whether you attend full or part-time. After you graduate, you would be eligible to take a variety of certification exams offered by the American Health Information Association (AHIMA) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).
Want more information about studying for a Certificate in Medical Coding: Download St. Vincent’s College webinar about Health Information Technology Coding to learn more. Click here to find out whether Medical Coding is right for you.
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