Can I Learn Medical Coding at Home?
Medical coding (and billing) continues to be a high-demand field. That’s because nearly every healthcare provider uses coded documentation and records. In fact, a single hospital may have several coders working at any given time.
But hospitals are just one of the potential work environments for medical coders and billers. Inpatient and outpatient facilities, urgent and semi-urgent care facilities, clinics, nursing homes, mental health facilities and doctor’s offices are among the places where well-trained coders can find a career.
What Do Medical Coders Do?
In general, medical coders are the healthcare professionals in charge of processing patient data, such as treatment records and related insurance information. Increasing demands on providers and allied health clinicians with decreasing reimbursement require medical offices to invest in highly skilled medical billers.
Medical coding professionals are involved in the reimbursement cycle, working to ensure that healthcare providers are accurately and efficiently paid for the services they perform. It’s important to have an intimate understanding of medical insurance, the claims process, the appeals process, and the impacts on hospital or medical provider revenue.
Can You Become a Medical Coder Through Self-Study?
The short answer is “yes.” However, if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to do your homework. Literally.
Coders are trained in intricate classification systems that have been created by the healthcare system to translate medical information into codes that are put into billing systems and patient’s medical records.
These classification systems are ICD-10-CM, HCPCS Level II and CPT. The process ensures that everybody who touches a patient’s records has an understanding of the patient’s diagnosis, as well as the tests and procedures that were ordered and delivered. It’s the medical coder’s job to ensure that the correct code is identified and recorded.
Medical Coding Certification Programs Available Online
Although each online medical coding curriculum program differs from the next, you’re likely to take similar courses no matter where you attend school. Here’s a sample of courses common to these programs:
• Medical Office Procedures
• Medical Records
Online self-study training programs for medical coding can offer scheduling flexibility that allows you to study when you’re available as long as you complete your coursework. You can access programs anywhere without leaving your home, and these programs are often less costly.
Becoming certified as a medical coder can take as little as four months or as long as fifteen months. These courses prepare you for taking the tests needed for the following credentials:
- Certified Professional Coder issued by the American Academy of Professional Coders
- Certified Coding Associate (CCA) issued by the American Health Information Management Association
- Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) issued by the American Health Information Management Association
- Certified Coding Specialist: Physician-based issued by the American Health Information Management Association
Here’s an excellent resource for aspiring medical coders that includes a variety of online medical coding certification programs to help you choose the self-study training course that’s right for you.
Want more information? Reach out to the medical coding experts at AMN Healthcare Revenue Cycle Solutions. We have the expertise to answer your questions and provide the industry insights and knowledge needed to set you on the right career path.