If you’ve ever speculated what a medical coder does, this article is for you. We will take a look at the duties and responsibilities of this important healthcare role and offer a brief outline of what medical coders do every day. We will also talk about the benefits of working in medical coding and why it might be perfect for you.
What Does a Medical Coder Do?
Medical coders typically work within the healthcare sector, although some will work for legal firms or for coding companies that provide their services to medical facilities wishing to outsource this part of the business.
For this article though, we are going to look at a medical coder working within a medical setting such as a hospital or doctor’s office.
A medical coder will usually have their own workspace in an office and may work with other coders and billers (depending on the size of the facility). The day begins by logging on to the software program via a secure password. According to the experts at Find A Code, those working in medical coding have a responsibility to keep patient data secure and must therefore use a very strong password for all computer systems.
Coders typically spend their day working through patient case files, translating the information therein to specific codes that correspond to various diagnoses, treatments, services, and administrative tasks. They must refer to large coding books or use online programs for code lookup. To ensure accurate coding, medical coders need to understand medical terminology and anatomy. They need to be able to work quickly yet efficiently and ask questions when the need arises. Attention to detail is vital as mistakes can be costly for both the facility and the patient.
Whenever medical coders are working on patient files, whether these are digital or hard copies, the coder must make sure that the information within is always kept secure, as per the requirements of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Violations of this act, whether intentional or otherwise, can result in hefty fines. There are even prison terms for repeated offences. It is therefore important that hard files are locked away when not in use and that computer screens are locked when the user is away from the desk.
The Benefits of Working in Medical Coding
Medical coding is an excellent career choice for those looking to work in healthcare but who don’t want to work on the front line delivering patient care. Medical coders are paid well and although they need to work accurately and efficiently, and often to tight deadlines, medical coding is definitely a position that has lower stress levels than some other healthcare jobs.
The fact that training to be a medical coder is something that can be done in a couple of years is also a huge benefit. You can start earning an income and gaining experience much more quickly than you would be able to do with other medical jobs.
Could You be a Medical Coder?
If you have a keen eye for detail and like working under pressure, you may very well love a job in medical coding. No two case files are ever the same, and you may enjoy doing some detective work when presented with a complex patient file that requires some investigation.
To conclude, medical coders are responsible for making sure that information within a patient file is accurately coded so that it can be universally understood by medical professionals and payers such as insurance companies and government agencies. While not involved in direct patient care, coders have an important job within the industry.