The healthcare field is growing rapidly, and medical coding is an important element of this field. If someone wants to train for a career that will definitely have job openings, medical coding training may be for them. As the population ages, there will be even larger numbers of older people seeking medical treatment. Doctors and other healthcare professionals record the procedures that patients have undergone, medications that they have prescribed, and tests that they have ordered. Results of these tests are also recorded. Medical coders interpret patient’s files and transform the information into numbers or medical codes to represent illnesses, such as cancer, flu, and others. By simply looking at the medical codes on a patient’s electronic file, a doctor or other healthcare professional can get an overview of the patient’s health.
Only certified medical coders are employed in their field because this position requires the special knowledge of how to interpret the codes and how they should be recorded on the patient’s file. Medical coding training can be completed in one of several ways. A student may complete a self-study program by purchasing online materials that help them prepare to take the test required to earn certification. Another way to get medical coding training is by enrolling in a community college course or a course offered by a business school or medical training school. These colleges often specialize in medical coding training because the demand for employees trained in medical coding is very high.
All medical records in the United States will be coded by using medical coding in the next few years. The federal government plans to spend $20 billion dollars to transfer written files to coded files. After that, there will be a continual demand for medical coders to keep patient’s records updated each time someone visits a doctor, clinic, or hospital. Medical coders have a tremendous responsibility to record the written records that doctors have recorded correctly and with perfect accuracy. Not coding the patient’s file with the right code could potentially be a life-threatening experience for a patient. For example, if a drug allergy is not recorded properly and the patient is given this drug, he or she could possibly have a fatal reaction.
Online or self-study programs to study for a career in medical coding are very popular because a student can prepare at a time that is convenient for them. They do not need to attend classes or fit their work schedule within their school schedule. It takes extra determination to complete any self-study program because there is no peer pressure to complete assignments, and there is little interaction with anyone who can answer questions. This type of program is often more difficult to complete than one that takes place in a classroom. Students learn a lot from one another, and in class, it is possible to hear conversations, explanations, and lectures. On the other hand, a self-study program requires a student to watch videos or read by themselves. A web-based program usually takes three to six months to complete. It is also possible to earn an Associate’s Degree in Medical Billing and Coding by completing an online course.
School programs at colleges and universities that offer Associate’s Degrees in Medical Billing and Coding that require courses similar to those for self-study programs. Students in a degree programs learn more than medical coding, however. They also learn technology, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, about diseases, pharmacology, healthcare regulations and compliance with laws, and about insurance fraud and compliance. When an Associate’s Degree is earned, the student has also completed basic courses in English, Math, Business, and electives that will help them in their future career. It is also possible to earn a four-year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Billing and Coding.
A graduate from any medical coding training program must take and pass a test to prove their proficiency in medical coding. Once they pass the exam that is usually administered by individual states, they are able to obtain their first job as a medical coder.