A medical coder collects the health records and translates that information into numeric codes. All medical procedures have a universal medical code which is entered into the database by the medical coder. This information is then used for many purposes such as billing, healthcare reimbursements, statistical purpose, and health insurance agencies.
A medical coders program which provides an internship option can help you land a medical coder’s job, more easily.
Work Environment of a Medical Coder
A medical coder works in a variety of work environments. Medical coders can work at locations such as hospitals, clinics, health care facility, health insurance office and even from their own homes.
Medical coder jobs are increasingly in demand in work environments such hospitals, insurance offices, Medicaid, Medicare, and NGO’s.
Unlike many others in the healthcare field, medical coding specialists have no interaction with the patients.
Cons of the Medical Coding Career
A career as a medical coder is not without its negative side. It is tough getting a medical coder job as lot of employers look for experienced medical coders.
Medical coder jobs demands long working hours and a high level of accuracy; it is one of the highly stressful career options in healthcare.
Medical coders spend almost all their time typing at a high speed as part of their work, and this repetitive action can easily lead to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. The Bureau of Labor Statistics specifically warns medical coders and medical transcriptionists about developing carpal tunnel from typing for long periods and "constant pressure to be accurate and productive."
Although medical coder jobs are expected to grow at a high rate, it can still be difficult to break in as a medical coder with no experience. The competition in medical coder field is very high. Mistakes are very costly in medical coding work environment.
The coding systems and associated work environment can be quite complex. Medical coders work under high stress to ensure correct practices are used to analyze records and data and that the proper codes are assigned to procedures so that these can be billed to patients and insurance companies. Inaccurate codes result in incorrect billing, which can cost both the patients and the healthcare providers a great deal. The pressure of a fast paced and highly stressful work environment can take its toll on a medical coder.
Pros of the Medical Coding Career
According to National Coalition on Healthcare, US spends around 17% of its GDP on healthcare costs. Without the medical coder jobs, the transactions in the healthcare industry will be very difficult.
The average mean salary for a medical coding specialist working in a general medical and surgical hospitals is around $37,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national average income for medical coding specialists is between $20, 140 to $41,750.
With the bright employment outlook for medical coders and the ease to operate in a variety of settings, medical coder jobs are much in demand.
There is no formal education requirement to become a medical coding specialist. However, many community colleges and vocational schools offer certificate courses for medical coding specialists. These are typically just one- year programs and include subjects such as medical terminology, anatomy, insurance, reporting, and medical terminology.
Unlike many others in the healthcare field, medical coding specialists have no interaction with patients. This career option is suitable for people who are detail-oriented and choose to work in an ever expanding healthcare industry.
As medical coders can work from anywhere, medical coder professionals can opt to work from the convenience of their own home, at their own time. The flexible schedule and the time (and stress) saved because no travel is needed, makes this profession a good choice for people who also provide elderly care, people with mobility problems, new mothers, and stay-at-home parents.
This is also a profession for people who prefer a desk job. Also for people who like to work in controlled comfortable environment in a well-lighted, temperature controlled house or office.