Medical coding is a huge part of the overall system of healthcare in this country. It involves assigning codes to the specific description of a patient’s status, and professional medical coders help to ensure that accurate information is conveyed between patients and doctors, in addition to doing the same with insurance companies.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there will be a 15% increase in the need for medical coders in the decade between 2014 and 2024. This represents a much larger increase than the average for most professions. Even though this is such a rapidly growing field of endeavor, there are probably some fun things that you didn’t know about careers in medical billing.
Medical coders need to be good puzzle solvers
While a thorough background in medical billing codes is necessary, sometimes assigning codes to descriptions of medical conditions can really be more like an art form than a science. In some cases, you’ll have to track down doctors and query them about specifics, or you might have to consult with insurance companies and patients in order to retrieve accurate information. If you’re good at solving puzzles and working out problems, that will be extremely useful towards your career in medical billing.
The medical coding system is gargantuan
You might be a bit overwhelmed when you realize just how huge the medical coding system is. There are literally thousands of codes involved, to cover every kind of medical condition under the sun. Medical billing and coding professionals frequently have to work with software systems which help them assign codes, simply because of the huge body of codes that must be sifted through before finding the right one. It will help a great deal if you have a good memory as a coder, because it will generally help you to find the right codes faster. However, whenever you get hit by a brand-new medical condition, it might throw your whole process into a loop, and you’ll have to spend considerable research time finding just the right code for the situation.
Medical coders work in all kinds of settings
You might think that as a medical coder, you would always be working in a physician’s office, but that’s not necessarily the case. Since medical coders are needed in virtually every installation throughout the healthcare industry, there are literally any number of locations where you might undertake your profession. Some coders work in hospitals, some work in doctors’ offices, some work in school systems, and there are probably another 15 or 20 possible locations where you might provide service. Wherever medical healthcare is delivered, that’s a potential location for a medical coder to be employed.
There’s great deal of flexibility in the profession
There is tremendous flexibility associated with a career in medical billing. As referenced above, there are any number of different locations where you might possibly be employed, but there is more flexibility than that involved with the job. There are many different schedules and shifts that you might be called upon to work in a professional setting. Of course, many coders do work a traditional 9 AM to 5 PM shift, but a great many others work shifts that are far from traditional. Some medical coders even work directly from their homes, and only report to the workplace occasionally for meetings and for catching up with their employer. Anyone who’s interested in maintaining a balanced work-life schedule should consider a career in medical coding.
It’s easy to break into medical coding
There are many online programs available for medical coders to pursue, as a means of breaking into the profession. Many of these will help you to become a certified Professional Coder, and to complete the program, it normally only takes between two and three terms. Without even having to commute to a classroom, you could acquire all the skills and knowledge that you need to become certified in the profession, and then you can market yourself wherever a position might be available. With the knowledge you pick up from one of these online courses, you would be qualified to sit for the exam offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). Once you pass this exam, you’re on your way to a rewarding career in medical coding!