Jobs in the healthcare industry are hugely popular, not least because of the benefits associated with them. Moreover, with this being such a fast-growing sector, there is huge demand for roles such as medical coders. But what do medical coders do on a day-to-day basis? What are the duties and what type of person would make a good medical coder?
What are a Medical Coder’s Duties?
Medical coders typically work within a medical facility such as a hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office. Sometimes coders work for companies that provide an outsourcing option for medical facilities. In this case, the coder will work alongside a team of other coders providing this function for a variety of medical providers.
On a day-to-day basis, a medical coder’s main function is to translate all aspects of a patient’s care to the alpha-numeric codes required by insurance companies for billing purposes. Every single diagnosis, treatment, piece of equipment, and medical task associated with a patient’s care will have its own unique code. It is the job of the coder to match the relevant medical billing codes to the patient’s report so that an invoice can be sent to the insurance company for reimbursement. There are hundreds of thousands of different codes.
It might sound like a complicated process and those thinking of a career in coding might be overwhelmed at the idea of having to pick the right code from hundreds of thousands of options, but the good news is that there are tools that make the job easier. These include things like online databases such as those provided by Findacode.com. Using these sites helps with NPI lookup, diagnostic code lookup, and more.
Medical coders need to make sure that they are accurately taking the patient information and translating it into codes to be billed. There are many types of codes used in the healthcare industry and unless the correct code is used, an insurance claim might not be paid. If there are errors on the claim, it might be rejected and sent back for amendment, or it could be denied by the insurance company, with them outright refusing to make a payment.
The medical coder will need to have a knowledge of medical terminology as sometimes records can be completed incorrectly by the healthcare provider. The coder must liaise with doctors and nurses to ensure the accuracy of the report.
In addition to coding patient records, a medical coder might also be involved in the billing process. Billing involves creating invoices based on the information that the coder has input into the system. Some coders also work as billers whereas sometimes the coding and billing process is taken care of by more than one person.
What Type of Person Makes a Good Medical Coder?
Those who want to be a medical coder should be detail-oriented with good attention to detail. As mentioned above, errors when inputting medical codes can lead to a loss of revenue for the medical facility or issues with compliance.
As medical coding can be a stressful job, those working in the industry need to be calm under pressure and able to work to deadlines. They must be confident working on their own as well as with a team of other professionals.
Research is an important part of a medical coder’s job as they need to be able to know where to find the specific guidelines to follow, depending on the insurance provider they are working with. They will also need to able to follow these guidelines to ensure speedy payment for their employer.