Medical coding is one of the top-ranking careers in the health care industry for freshers who are seeking a challenging profession. To become a certified medical coder, knowledge of Anatomy, medical terminologies, disease condition, procedures performed all play a vital role. Although it’s been a long time since medical coding came into the health care industry, the growth of the profession is tremendous in recent years. Anything and everything which gets popular comes with myths and misinterpretations, let us investigate the myths and the reality concomitant to medical coding.
Myth # 1: Learn medical coding in just 4 to 6 weeks
While becoming familiar with medical coding can happen in a short span of 4 to 6 weeks, to become a proficient medical coder one must spend long-term learning & continuous up-gradation with the required skills.
Sound knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy, physiology alone will not fulfill the requirement as a medical coder. One should be well versed with the use of the ICD, CPT, and HCPCS codes along with the guidelines about the code assignment such as modifiers, E/M level assignment, etc. Also, the medical coder should know the HIPAA regulations which play a vital role in the safety and security of the medical records.
In short, the proverb Practice makes a man perfect best suited for a person to excel in medical coding which cannot be achieved in this short span of 4 to 6 weeks.
Myth # 2: Medical coding is very easy
Every time a person got to know about medical coding, they come across misleading beliefs that medical coding is very easy to learn or execute. However, the reality is that a medical coder needs to be very detailed and organized.
One should be familiar with the coding manual and proper application of the coding guidelines as per the policies play a vital role in meeting the customer expectation.
Myth # 3: Work from home is permitted for experienced coders only
In earlier days, the work-from-home opportunity was a nightmare even for experienced medical coders. Employers wanted the coders to work from an office environment for effective performance monitoring.
The COVID pandemic situation was a testing period for the employers and even from a work from a home situation, the medical coders were able to meet their productivity and quality. This led to ease for the work from home even for the freshers.
Myth # 4: Medical coding and medical billing is one and the same
Almost every person who enters the medical coding profession thinks that medical coding and medical billing are the same. While medical coders work with the health care physicians and nurses reviewing the medical records to assign appropriate codes as per the service provided, the billers work with insurance companies and patients on the pending claims.
Medical billers investigate the denied or rejected claims, medical coders perform audits on the coded chart to identify the accuracy of coding and avoid denials
Medical coders work with the Electronic Health Record (HER) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) while the medical billers focus on following up with patients and insurance companies.
Myth # 5: Medical coding is mostly data entry
As medical coding is a job with the mandatory use of a computer, anyone new to medical coding thinks that it is just a data entry job. But the reality is that the medical coder must use his medical knowledge on anatomy, physiology analyzes the medical records, and apply proper coding guidelines to assign correct codes.
One must spend more time reading and reviewing the Physician notes for proper assignment of the codes based on the service provided.
The survey indicates there will be a huge opening for medical coders and medical billers by 2024. With proper training and good hands-on experience under the supervision of experienced coding experts, anyone can excel in the medical coding career. Dedication, hard work, and expertise can lead a shining career in the health care industry.