Deciding which career path to take can be challenging but if you have a job in mind then you will probably want to know more about it and whether it would be a good fit for you. Take medical coding as an example. This is a great career choice with fantastic opportunities and a competitive pay packet. But is it a good choice for you? Do you have what it takes to excel in a role like this?
What Do Medical Coders Do?
According to Find-A-Code.com (Current Procedural Terminology Platform), medical coders have a lot to do on a daily basis. Their role involves translating information in patient files into readable codes that are universally recognizable by insurance companies and agencies such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Part of their job involves diagnostic code lookup, NPI lookup, searching for CPT codes, and HIPAA compliance. The patient file will include everything pertaining to a specific visit to a practitioner or medical facility and it is the coder’s responsibility to ensure that accurate coding is used. Coders must also make sure that patient information is always kept private and confidential.
Is Medical Coding Right for You?
Medical coding is a job that appeals to a wide audience, but if you want to be successful then you should probably have some specific skills and personality traits. For example, you will need to be able to work well under pressure as there are likely to be many deadlines to meet in this job.
Accuracy is massively important when it comes to medical coding, so attention to detail is a vital skill required for this role. Other useful skills include computer literacy, organization, research skills, and being a good communicator.
Duties of a Medical Coder
A medical coder’s main role is to convert patient files into readable codes. They must therefore be knowledgeable in medical terminology and the type of codes that need to be used. There are a variety of coding structures that are used for different aspects of a patient visit. For example, ICD-10 codes are used to denote a specific diagnosis and can be found on all patient paperwork. CPT codes are used to describe which treatments a patient has been given during the visit.
Medical coders might be given inaccurate or incomplete documents from time to time. It is the coder’s responsibility to report this and to try to correct the information by liaising with the physician who completed the patient file.
Data entry is one of the most important duties the coder has. This entry must be done accurately to avoid any costly mistakes. Under- or over-billing may be seen as fraudulent, regardless of whether it was intentional or not.
The medical coder may also be responsible for the billing part of the process and as such would need to raise invoices to send to the relevant insurance company or other payers such as Medicare or Medicaid. This would mean liaising with these agencies in relation to claims. Any rejected claims would need to be corrected and resubmitted in a timely manner to ensure prompt payment for the medical facility.
It is important that the medical coder adheres to government guidelines in relation to coding and billing. HIPAA compliance is extremely important and ensures that sensitive data is kept confidential.
If you have the skills and temperament to become a medical coder, it is a fantastic and varied job. As no two patient files will be the same, the coder will enjoy different challenges on a daily basis. This is a rewarding position for those with the necessary skills.