How to become a medical coding specialist
Every medical of health service performed has a alphanumerical code value which is called Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and International Classification of Diseases (ICD). ICD 9 standard is currently being used but ICD 10 is set to be launched by 2014. These standardized codes provide efficiency in communicating information that will best serve patients and healthcare providers. Medical coding specialists go through the detailed patient’s data – including medical history, injuries, and procedures – and with their medical terminology, procedures and diseases background or knowledge; they then assign a code for the patient’s record. They work in physicians or doctor’s offices, hospitals and medical facilities. With coding specialists, records processing is more efficient. Records are often used for reimbursements. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of medical records and health information technicians is expected to increase by 21 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for health services is expected to increase as the population ages. An aging population will need more medical tests, treatments, and procedures. This will also mean more claims for reimbursement from private and public insurance. Additional records, coupled with widespread use of electronic health records by all types of healthcare providers, should lead to an increased need for technicians to organize and manage the associated information in all areas of the healthcare industry.” Requirements to become a medical coding specialist
- Education – most employers require a post secondary certification or a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. A strong knowledge in biology, anatomy and medical terms can be an advantage.
- Associates degree – 2 years of study with college or university that has CAHIM (Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education).
- Training – some employers offers training for new employees who have experience in relevant health information management field. Students may also take up online training programs which can more flexible for them compared to traditional classroom training.
- Professional Certifications – Certification is voluntary and to be certified, students must pass exams available through AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) and AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders).
The medical coding specialist career is a good fit for those with good analytical skills – good with working in numbers, challenges, and good in paying attention to details. They need to precisely and accurately code the records so that communication between two health and medical facilities/organization or with the patient will be accurate as well. Online medical coding programs are readily available for students who need a flexible training program. You can visit Meditec to for a free career guide or to see a glimpse of their medical coding course which will teach you:
- Basic medical terminology
- Claims submission
- ICD-9* and CPT coding
- Medical Chart Coding
- Specialty Coding
*ICD-9 is the coding standard currently used in the U.S. Implementation of ICD-10 has been delayed until October 1, 2014. Meditec is actively watching the change, which is why we currently offer ICD-10 coding. If you are interested in ICD-9, please speak with an admissions adviser.