What does a Medical Coder do?

What does a Medical Coder do

Last Updated on September 4, 2023 by Team Experts

An integral part of one of the fastest-growing industries in the world when it comes to employment and job opportunities, medical coding is both enterprising and lucrative. A medical coding job involves assisting in the standardization of diagnostic processes, medical services, equipment and product records using universal alphanumeric codes that are compliant with state and federal requirements.

Medical coders have grown in importance so much in recent years that they have practically become the financial backbone of any healthcare firm. And yet, since the field is not still counted among mainstream opportunities, the transparency around it is low. Many people do not know what exactly this job role involves.

 In this article, we have addressed all your curious concerns by delving into the basics of what a medical coder does, and what the prospects of this career are.

Understanding Medical Coding

Medical coding refers to the process of assigning universal alphanumeric numbers to healthcare services such as medical diagnoses, procedures, services, and equipment. A medical coder gives diagnostic and procedure codes to documents such as physician’s notes, laboratory reports, and service lists in a patient’s medical record.

Medical coding comprises extracting medical information from existing paperwork, assigning diagnosis and treatment codes, and simplifying the creation of a claim to be sent to payers. These payers can gather the following information from the standardized codes:

·       The patient’s diagnosis

·       Medical requirement for the patient’s treatments, services, or supplies

What is the Role of a Medical Coder?

Medical coders add standardized information to patient records for data management and billing purposes. Each diagnosis and procedure must be coded every time a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider provides a service.

Assume you’re a medical coder checking the medical record of a patient who comes in for an X-ray. The technician will record the operation on the patient’s records once the X-ray is completed. A doctor will next study the image to determine the cause of the injury, whether it’s a fracture or a simple sprain, and may recommend treatment such as a sling or a cast.

The medical coder’s responsibility will be to examine these notes and assign the correct codes for the X-ray, doctor’s examination, diagnosis, and any therapy given. The medical practice will bill the insurance company for the patient’s visit based on the codes they assign.

The primary responsibilities of a medical coder are to analyze medical charts and assign codes. Their codes will be used when patients need their insurance company to cover a claim, and appropriate coding will ensure that the physician is compensated promptly by the insurer.

Do a Medical Coder and Biller have the same functions?

It’s critical to recognize the distinction between medical billing and medical coding. Some offices employ one person to handle both billing and coding, whereas bigger facilities may hire separate billing and coding professionals.

When the task is split into two roles, the medical coder will focus on updating and validating patient health records, while the medical biller will spend the majority of the day submitting and following up on claims with insurance companies.

What does a Day in the Life of the Medical Coder look like?

Opening essential software and checking for updated patient charts begins the day. The medical coder has to sort through the charts and decide which ones to tackle first. In a small clinic, they might be in charge of processing all patient records, whereas in a major hospital, they might be assigned to a specific coding region.

Following the prioritization of the charts, the medical coder will spend the most of their day coding. They will be reading medical documents, taking notes, and maybe assisting with billing in addition to assigning codes. They cannot leave health documents available to any unauthorized individuals who may pass past their desk because of patient privacy and confidentiality rules.

Finally, if any new charts arrived at the end of the day, the medical coder would have to examine and prioritize them accordingly so that they can start the next day’s work ahead of schedule.

Is Medical Coding a Promising Career?

Medical secretaries, including medical coders, are expected to expand 22 percent between 2016 and 2026, substantially faster than the average for all professions, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). With such a positive job outlook, qualified coders may have an easier time finding jobs.

Coders with an average of 13 years of experience and the CPC certification earned an average yearly pay of $54,106, according to the 2017 AAPC Salary Survey. If you want to get started as a medical coder right away, there are several diploma programs available, while an associate degree is a fantastic alternative if you want to improve your qualifications or enroll in a bachelor’s degree program later.

The healthcare industry in general, and a career in medical coding in particular, is seeing amazing expansion worldwide. The profession will only continue to rise from pillar to pillar in the years ahead. With the multitude of chances available, interested individuals may look for positions with reputable medical coding organizations that provide offshore services to hospitals and clinics, where they can learn and grow in a fast-paced environment.

Read more: How Does Remote Patient Monitoring Work?


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Erin Lane is a creative writer and lifestyle blogger from Canberra, Australia. She is a hard-working, organized, dedicated professional interested in learning new things. With over six years of experience in writing, Erin has covered numerous topics, including health, tech, fashion, fitness, makeup, home improvement, decoration, business, and finances. Erin is an active person who enjoys nature and traveling. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram

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