Get a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to work in this field
If you’re considering a career as a medical coding and billing specialist, you may want to find out more about what you will do in a typical day. While it may sound simple: a patient has a disease and your job is to assign a code, it can be more than just assigning a number.
Start of the workday
The first thing you will do in the morning is to log on to the computer and view the list of patient charts. You will need to deal with any urgent matters and then start reading patient charts for evaluation and coding. Depending on who you work for, you may specialize in one service, such as inpatient or outpatient surgery, or cover a range of medical conditions and patients.
Throughout the day, you will be expected to review medical charts and records and assign the most accurate codes. Your day will be a cycle of reading, note taking, and assigning codes. While many of these charts will be straightforward and you will easily be able to assign a code, others may be less common or you may not have enough information to determine the correct code. Also, you must follow many rules and regulations, which may make it more difficult.
If you like to solve mysteries and hunt down information, you may like the investigative nature of being a medical billing and coding specialist. Sometimes you will not understand the physician documentation and will turn to clues, such as lab tests, to help provide the correct diagnostic code. Sometimes, you may have to go back to the physician’s office for clarification. Your research skills and ability to ask the right questions will help you in this job.
A medical coder spends most of the day on the computer using various programs. The coding desk is typically set up ergonomically, so you can read through documents and charts. You may have two computers—one monitor to review charts and the other to research coding systems. At the end of the day, you turn over any unprocessed work and then clean your desk. You may have to share your work space with another coding specialist who works a different shift.
Do you like to work on your own?
Most coding specialists work individually, so if you prefer to keep to yourself and not have to talk to people all day, you may like the independence of this job. Although, you may interact with other coders, medical billers, and staff of the physician’s office, you won’t work directly with patients.
How will you be evaluated?
As a medical billing and coding specialist, you will be expected to review a certain number of charts each day or keep your lag days to a specified period. The lag days are the time it takes you to document the notes to the claims submission date. Your firm may periodically perform audits of the coding and documentation for accuracy and will use this information to see how well you are doing.
Hopefully this overview will give you a general idea of what it is like to be a medical billing and coding specialist. If you think an office job within the health industry may interest you, learn more information on our Health Claims Specialist/Medical Billing and Coding program.
This article is part of the weekly blog of the Salter School. We offer several different professional training programs at our campuses in Malden and Fall River, MA. Reach out to us today for more information or to schedule a campus tour!