Medical coding is a forthcoming and much sought after trendy profession in the field of Healthcare Administration and India is one of the most favorable destinations for offshore medical coding and medical billing. The global healthcare industry is a rapidly expanding industry and the demand for medical coders is increasing exponentially, while the demand & supply gap of certified medical coders have been widening over the last few years.
There is a general prototype for a medical coder that is very important for the job. One of the most critical traits of medical coders is that they have high ethical standards because the patient data they work with is highly confidential. Medical coders must also keep a keen eye on small details, as even one minuscule mistake in a code could invite big troubles. They should also be able to remain focused on their job since their work is rather monotonous, and at the same time very critical.
Medical coding profession demands a lot of accuracy and practice which comes with a disciplined and meticulous approach. A sound knowledge of the human anatomy, pharma and biology are crucial to work as a medical coder. Howbeit, it should be noted that Medical coding in India is basically the outsourcing work done for the US and other developed countries healthcare industries by Indians.
BUT WHO EXACTLY IS A MEDICAL CODER?
If you were a USA citizen or NRI and someday you got ill than you would probably visit a Doctor in a US hospital. You would also meet a medical administrator and nurse. But there were many things that would be happening behind your back that you wouldn’t be seeing. After you were treated the insurance company would like to know how you were treated and the cost incurred. This is all done to process the medical bill. Common Language like English is not useful for processing the bill so a universal short code alphanumeric language has been developed which defines various medical procedures and terms.
Medical coding is a specialized language for the medical and insurance industries. Medical coders are the professionals who translate the medical records received from the medicos into a universal set of codes that are given to the insurers.
A medical coder uproots the data from a patient’s medical records and translates them to an industry-standard medical code, which is accepted globally everywhere. These codes are specially used to process the insurance claims with third party payers. They are also used to collect statistics to track information of a specific disease, medicines, treatment etc. Medical coding is a kind of transformation process. It calls for translation of medical reports into small universal alphanumeric codes which is used in the health industry. This is done by well qualified professionals with medical coding certification. Coders take medical reports from the medicos, which may include various data regarding a patient’s condition, diagnosis report, doctor’s prescription, and other procedures and operations the medico team performed on the patient. This critical information is turned into a set of universally accepted codes, which is necessary for any kind of medical claim. Medical coding professionals ensure that the codes are correctly applied during the medical billing process, which includes abstracting the correct data from the documents, allocating appropriate codes, and preparing a claim to be paid by the insurers to the medico team. Medical coding specialists are responsible for the flawless coding of the medical claims to receive compensation from the insurers. Medical Coders are employed with any organization that provides medical services to its customers like Hospitals clinics, urgent care facilities, nursing homes, treatment centers, Insurance Companies, and even law firms to detect frauds.
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR MEDICAL CODING
An individual must have a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, preferably in life sciences to become a Medical Coder. Bachelor’s degrees in Biotechnology, Microbiology, Botany, Zoology, Physiotherapy, B.Pharma etc are some of the degrees that are useful to become a coder. He and she are also expected to have the requisite analytical ability to read and analyze the medical records.
He should also have relevant technical skills like knowing medical billing, CPT coding, ICD-10, Medical Terminology, and Data Entry. He is also expected to have some relevant soft skills like Good Communication Skills, Writing Skills, Organizational and research skills. If you are getting confused with the technical skills then please don’t get intimidated because those are the skills that you probably acquire during formal training.
PATHWAY TO BECOME A MEDICAL CODER
Medical Coding is not everybody’s cup of tea because it requires formal training and certification before becoming a medical coder. Once the medical coding training program is completed, the next step is to pass the CPC (Certified Professional Coder) or CRC (Certified Risk Adjustment Coder) exams conducted by American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and CCA (Certified Coding Associate) or CCS (Certified Coding Specialist) exams conducted by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Here are the steps that describe the process to become a certified medical coder and let your career reach its pinnacle.
- Acquire medical coding training
- Obtain industry certification
- On Job training
- Practical exposure
- Practice the Sample Test papers
Once the person has completed training and acquired the medical coding certification the person will undoubtedly excel in his profession.
WHY CODING IS IMPORTANT?
Medical coding is a specialist work and is a part of the financial and administrative functions of the medical industry. Medical coding and medical billing are two important facets of the medical industry but both are different terms. Here are the points which describe why Coding is important:-
- Medical History, Treatment, Medicines, and Diagnosis of all the patients should be recorded and accounted for.
- Medical coding ensures appropriate and flawless payment to the Physician.
- Medical Coding data helps in designing and planning the projects and schemes associated with the Healthcare Industry.
- Medical coding is also a significant factor in obtaining insurance reimbursement as well as maintaining patient records. Insurers use the medical Coding Data and pay accordingly.
- Medical claim adjudication process also uses Medical Coding Data. It is the process used by insurers to ascertain whether claims would be reimbursed, denied, or reduced.
- Medical coding is a complex operation, so quality and accuracy in work are paramount in the entire Healthcare Industry.
DEMAND AND SCOPE FOR MEDICAL CODING IN INDIA
The Global Healthcare industry is expanding swiftly and so is the career opportunities associated with it. Medical Coding is an excellent career option for the Indian youth. This sector is producing jobs not only in India and the United States but also in other developed and developing countries. There is a lot of scope in the medical coding industry in India mainly due to two reasons. Firstly, India is the favorite upcoming offshore destination for medical coding and there is a massive gap between the demand and supply of Medical Coders. Medical Coding can create millions of jobs for medical enthusiasts and the life sciences students in India.
These professionals have a critical role in the medical field today. The population is increasing, and so is the number of patients suffering from different diseases which means there will be more treatments, more tests, more diagnosis, and therefore more insurance claims. This is the befitting time to get a certification in medical coding that will land you a job in the healthcare industry along with the proper skills for the current job market.
Presently the medical coders in India are mainly receiving jobs from the USA and this has been possible because India offers cheap labor and high standard medical Coding and Billing Solutions. Secondly, India is also the hub for data Processing and data solution services. However, in near future, it is possible that there will be outsourcing from UK, Australia, Canada, and other western countries too. In the USA alone, less than half of the employers in the healthcare Industry have well trained and certified staff to work as medical coders and this is the biggest reasons why the US employers outsource the medical coding business to India. Globally, the offshore healthcare services industry is growing at a breakneck rate every year. It is also the fastest-growing outsourced business process in India and therefore trained and certified coders are in demand these days. The recent advancement of computer assisted coding (CAC) has eased the job of medical coders’ globally. This tool has been designed to improve productivity and increase the accuracy of the highly critical coding process. Coding is the first step in the revenue cycle management process, while automated coding is a step towards faster processing of the claims, which will save costs and ease the coding operations.
The healthcare outsourcing industry represents only a small fraction of the total outsourcing market, but the likeliness of growth of medical coding in India is very high because the growing demands also want quality which the Indian Medical Coders are providing. There are many healthcare companies and MNCs which are operating in India and the world over and are providing specialized healthcare services like medical coding. They are hiring trained and certified coders from the medical, pharma and other life sciences backgrounds for Medical coding. Medical coding industry is known to offer excellent compensation where companies are offering handsome package and career growth in the industry. So, medical coding can offer you a bright future ahead because there is a lot of scope in this emerging industry. This article was for students and Job seekers searching a new and innovative career option — Join us and surely Annova will try to help you land your first job as a Medical Coder.