Medical coding is the process of assigning standardized numerical codes to patient health care charts. This coded information is used to ensure that insurance companies, government organizations, such as Medicare, and patients alike all receive accurate billing statements for health services performed. Medical coders perform the work of converting diagnostic and procedural information into simplified numerical codes that can be electronically processed for payment by third party payers – Insurance companies and Medicare, for example.
The process of medical coding requires an attention to detail to ensure the accuracy of billing records. Because of the large dollar amounts involved, coding is a highly regulated and tightly supervised activity. Coding is also subject to frequent and rigorous audits to ensure accuracy in the billing process as there are literally billions of dollars at stake. In many ways, medical coding is a much more scrutinized activity than, say the transcription of patient records.
Medical Coding work is typically performed in hospitals or clinics, although we are beginning to see some of these coding and billing jobs migrate to work at home positions. Medical coders generally begin with a transcribed patient health record and transform procedures and diagnoses etc. into numerical codes. This takes a great deal of expertise in medical terminology and a fluency with relevant codes. Of course, this requires formal training. Billing specialists take the coded output produced by the coder and submit it for reimbursement to insurance companies, Medicare, or directly to the patient. Many times a single person will perform both the coding and the billing functions. This is particularly true in smaller clinical settings. In large, high volume health care operations, coding and billing are often organized into separate functional areas. Of the two, coding specialists generally enjoy a higher income and require more specialized training.
Medical coders are in high demand and the opportunities in the career field of health records documentation are outstanding. Coders work in hospitals and clinics and for other healthcare providers across the country. They play a vital role in the health information management cycle.
Increasingly, the health information management industry is taking advantage of the rapid advances in online coding technology. More and more, the work is performed online over the internet. As online coding catches on as a concept, we will likely see many of the positions that have traditionally been offered exclusively in hospitals and other healthcare settings begin to migrate to home based jobs. The work at home employee model has worked very well for the transcription industry and will also likely begin to gain traction in the coding industry as online coding becomes more prevalent.
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Source by Christopher L. Dunn