Continued learning is one key to job performance and satisfaction
If you’re attending a training program to be a medical billing and coding specialist, you’re already developing a lot of skills. You’re working towards knowing how to assist medical practitioners in getting reimbursed for the services they offer, by submitting claim forms—complete with the appropriate codes—to insurance companies and other payors. But there are “soft skills” that go along with the job, and many of them are things you can best practice once you’re in the working world.
Here’s a head’s up about how to be great at your job as a medical billing and coding professional, even beyond the skills you’re learning in school:
- Make use of feedback
When you work as a health claims specialist, you will come into contact with a lot of different people every day—patients, colleagues, and professionals at other companies. It’s unlikely that you will handle every interaction or situation perfectly, and feedback, especially early on, can be valuable.
Useful criticism is constructive—the kind that tells you how you might improve. If your supervisor simply says that you did something wrong, treat it as an opportunity. Smart employees reply with something along the lines of, “Thank you for letting me know. I want to keep improving. Do you have any suggestions for how I could have done that differently?”
- Be a good listener
Listening is not a passive activity. You might need to write down what the person is saying and then (when they’re done speaking) repeat back to them what they said (not word-for-word, but the main points). Ask them to clarify if there’s anything you are still missing. People generally will appreciate your efforts to understand them. You might also find it can save you time later, rather than having to go back and ask questions when the issue might not be as clear in everyone’s mind. This can be especially useful given all that you will be juggling as a medical billing and coding specialist and the time-sensitive nature of your work.
- Stay well informed
Every year, the coding manuals that medical billing and coding professionals use are updated. To stay current, you’ll need to learn new (or reorganized) codes, so you can use them correctly. There may be new guidelines for procedures and new code sets for each provider. It’s a constantly changing environment that demands someone who’s willing keep their skills sharp. There are many webinars, conferences, and articles addressing the latest insurance terminology, diagnostics, procedural coding, and records management. You’ll want to commit to taking advantage of these resources. This is what people mean by “professional development”—once you’re out of school, it’s up to you to keep learning so you can do your best at your job.
- Find a Mentor
Many experienced people in a profession like to share their knowledge and experience. Do a little research and find out who’s been a medical biller and coder a long time—either at your workplace, or elsewhere (through LinkedIn or other networking sites). Don’t be shy—ask if they’d be willing to mentor you. This could mean simply getting together for coffee on a monthly basis, or just checking in over the phone every few weeks. The first person you ask may say “no,” because of their own personal time constraints, but they’ll probably be honored that you recognized them as an expert. Don’t be discouraged! Make a list of five or so people you can ask and then go down the list until someone says “yes.”
Curious to learn more about the medical billing and coding profession? If you’re intrigued, find out more about what medical billers and coders do. This could be the first step towards a new career in this integral healthcare role. We wish you the best of luck, no matter where you are in the process!
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!