Those who are looking to get into the health professions but are looking for a job that does not require direct contact with patients should look for a career as a medical coder. A medical coder is responsible for bringing together and keeping records of all of the information that is connected with patients.
A medical coder is a specialized form of a medical records technician, an individual who is going to work specifically with insurance companies and costs of medical visits. Medical coders work to understand exactly how much money will be reimbursed to the hospital (or health care provider) when different forms of medical coverage are involved. Medical coders must have strong knowledge of the various types of medical coverage and medical insurance companies including both Medicaid and Medicare systems.
The medical coder is going to use a specific type of software that has a specific code for each type of diagnosis and each type of medical procedure available. The coder will be able to utilize the classification system that has been created (or will be created by them) to quickly gather information on insurance for insurance companies, health care providers, and the insured.
This type of profession is needed across the board, as different health care professionals will all need to understand how they are going to get paid for the services that they provide. Medical coders are found in hospitals, emergency centers, long-term care provider offices, and physician offices.
Those who are looking to be a medical coder should understand that there is some education required for the position. Most are going to go through an associates degree as they work to provide health care professionals with the information they need to receiving payment. Students will go through courses that are based on health information. They will learn through a wide variety of courses that cove everything from the sciences to technology. Students will learn about anatomy and data analysis, physiology and coding. Specialized classes often include database security and health care reimbursement information and methodology. Many employers are looking for students who have multiple classes in the sciences, as they want to make sure that their employees are somewhat knowledgeable in the various issues that come up through medical coding.
While credentials are not required to receive a job position as a medical coder, they are somewhat mandatory. Employees are simply looking for those with credentials as they work to hire someone into their offices. Most individuals looking into medical coding will want to look into the American Academy of Professional Coders, the Board of Medical Specialty Coding, and the Professional Association of Health Care Coding Specialists (AAPC, BMSC, and PAHCS, respectively) for possible accreditation. General health information and data accreditations are available through the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association).
Job opportunities for a medical coder grow as more and more offices and hospitals expand. Those who are accredited will find that they will have an easier time finding a job in a field that is expected to grow by 20 percent over the next ten years.