What Medical Coders Do

 

In the field of health care, doctor and nurse positions are not the only jobs that are in demand. However, there are other positions that people can apply for. These positions include medical billing and coding jobs.

Billers and coders are responsible for submitting and tracking insurance claims for healthcare providers. They are very important in assuring that health facilities will not lose their revenues and will continue their operation. Medical billers normally interact with medical personnel, other staff, and medical practitioners and doctors. Thus, it is important that people who will take such job possess excellent communication skills.

Billing and coding positions do not require specific degrees but employers prefer those with formal university education and certification.

EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENT

Though requirements on educational background are not that strict when applying for billing or coding positions, it would be better if applicants undergo some formal training first. They may go to billing and coding schools or enroll in online courses.

Schedule of medical billers is normally flexible. Some may work part-time from home, in specific hours of the day, or in the night. The salary ranges from $40,000 to $48,000. Excellent and experienced billers and coders may earn higher.

THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL OF A MEDICAL BILLER

First and foremost, medical billers and coders should have keen attention to detail. They cannot afford to commit mistakes, such as misspelled names, transposed digits, or other incorrect details as these can lead to very serious problems, including delayed payments. In fact, some cases of delayed claims or denied insurance can be attributed to errors in encoded data.

MEDICAL BILLING AND CODING POSITIONS

Medical billing and coding jobs can be categorized into specific positions, including the following;

  • Billing specialist

  • Billing coordinator

  • Medical coding specialist

  • Medical billing clerk

  • Medical billing consultant

  • Patient account representative

  • Reimbursement specialist

  • Account receivable specialist

  • Electronic claims processor

  • Claims analyst

Application to such positions can be done in various ways, but it would be much better if applicants try networking with healthcare professionals.

JOB APPLICATION PROCESS

Before applying for any positions, applicants should know pertinent information regarding the job that they are applying for. During application, resume is one thing that can land a person his desired job. Thus, applicants should ensure that their resumes look impressive. If necessary, they should look for some templates over the internet.

Letter of interest is also important when applying for jobs. This letter should be aimed at impressing the manager so that the applicant’s resume will be checked out right away. There are a number of tutorials that teach people how to write letters of interest properly and provide some tips on how they can improve their writing skills.

AFTER GETTING THE JOB

People’s efforts should not stop as soon as they land a position. When they start working, they may realize that there are a number of thing that they must still learn in order to adequately adapt to their workplace.

In addition, if necessary, people should still improve on the job skills that are required for their job positions.

Radiologist and X-Ray Technicians

X-ray technicians or radiologic technologists are the medical staff responsible for capturing images of different body parts using specific equipment. After taking images, results are interpreted by the radiologist. Necessary precaution is required in this job to protect the technician and patients from possible harmful effects of radiation.

JOB REQUIREMENTS

People who want to work as X-ray technicians should possess an associate’s degree in radiology and a license. Licensure requirements may vary depending on the state. On the other hand, voluntary certification can be earned through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

Such job also requires some important skills, such as the following;

  • Interpersonal communication

  • Proficiency in medical software

  • Skills in operating and maintaining imaging equipment

  • Mathematics and science skills

  • Remarkable stamina and strength

STEPS IN BECOMING AN X-RAY TECHNICIAN

  1. FINISH A POSTSECONDARY PROGRAM

Aspirants should first undergo training under the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) or ARRT before they can be provided with certification. Programs for x-ray technicians can be at different levels, for example, certificate, associate’s degree, and bachelor’s degree. Offered courses are thought either in classrooms or laboratories. Some of the topics tackled include anatomy, medical terminology, infection control, patient positioning, radiation protection, and radiation pathology.

  1. OBTAIN CERTIFICATION

After finishing X-ray technician programs, people may proceed with their certification via ARRT. They would be given Registered Technologist (RT) credential. Certification is not really required, but employers normally prefer those who can present certification. Eligibility for certification requires applicants to be graduates of accredited program and to have passing score in written exam.

In addition, certification is renewed every two years. However, recertification requires 24 continuing education units or passing score in an exam.

  1. ACQUIRE A LICENSE

In a number of states, a license is a requirement for x-ray technician position. Some states have their own regulations regarding mammography. Licensure requirements may also vary depending on the state. However, some states have no specific laws for licensure of X-ray technicians.

  1. SEEK EMPLOYMENT

Work of X-ray technicians is normally 40 hours a week. X-ray technicians are normally found working in hospitals, physicians’ offices, imaging centers, and rehabilitation centers.

  1. AIM HIGHER

X-ray technicians may also aspire to seek additional certifications that will provide them credential to be radiologist assistant or opportunity to specialize in operating other equipment, such as CT scanner and MRI machines. Some technicians also pursue a career in teaching or work as sales representative for manufacturers of radiologic equipment.

How To Become A Medical Records Technician

Being a medical records technician (MRT) is one the considered less stressful jobs in the field of medicine. This job is perfect for those who prefer not to have any interaction with patients. The job of medical records technician is very important as their work involves maintaining and keeping records of patients’ medical history; these records provide vital information that can be used in disease diagnosis and treatment of patients.

All patients that go to the hospital have medical records. When available, doctors review the information on a patient’s medical record and add more data during consultation. Some of the information that can be found in medical records include symptoms, possible, diagnoses, and follow-up actions, including additional tests of prescription of medicine.

After consultation, the medical records technician or health information technician transforms the data provided by the doctors into permanent medical record. Such data should be accurate and updated in order to provide the patient with appropriate treatment if necessary. Thus, medical records technician should have good attention to detail and responsibly enough in managing patients’ information.

Bulk of the work of medical records technicians includes transformation of paper-based medical records into electronic data. Given increasing complexity, MRTs may face a bit of a challenge regarding computer access, privacy and security, analytics, reimbursement, quality, and improvement of clinical documentation. However, the industry for MRTs is expected to increase in the future.

WORK SETTINGS

MRTs also work in hospitals. Aside from taking care of medical records, they may also be involved with scanning and indexing of paper documents and their transformation to electronic form. They also collaborate with physicians and clinicians to prevent discrepancies or deficiencies on medical records of patients.

MRTs are also adept in coding diagnosis and procedures depending on care provided to a patient. This skill is important in reimbursement of medical services. In addition, coding is quite significant in research and registries for data reports and trends.

Aside from hospitals, MRTs may also work in insurance companies, software vendors, physician practices, pharmaceutical companies, rehabilitation centers, home healthcare agencies, nursing homes, and government agencies.

EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENT

The job of MRT requires completion of a two-year associate degree program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management.

High school students will easily become MRTs if they have interests in science subjects, such as biology and human health, and fields of computer technology and math. Some available online courses provide assistance to students who aspire to be MRTs.

TRAINING

There are various college programs for being an MRT though the names of courses may vary a little. The courses included in MRT programs focus on medical coding systems, database management and security, data analysis, and insurance industry practices.

MRTs are also allowed to specialize in certain fields. For example, medical transcription involves transcription of doctors’ spoken notes into computer. In cancer registry, the MRT must record details of cancer types and related treatments. Such specializations may be taken up while people are in college or when they are already working. Meanwhile, the American Health Information Management Association offer certification programs and training resources for those who aspire to become MRTs.

LICENSING/CERTIFICATION

During applications, employers will likely prefer registered or certified MRTs. Certification for being a Registered Health Information Technicians can be acquired after passing the exam administered by AHIMA. This type of credential also increases opportunity of MRTs to earn higher salaries, form connections with other MRTs, and gain chance in lifelong learning.

AHIMA also offers certification for coding (CCS/CCS-P), health care privacy and security (CHPS), tumor registry (CTR), health data analysis (CHDA), and HER Credentialing.

SKILLS AND QUALITIES

The primary requirements for being MRTs include attention to detail and remarkable organizational skills. MRTs should also possess ethical integrity because they will be handling confidential information. Thus, they are expected to be quiet about patients’ information and will not share any details that can compromise privacy of patients. There should also be appropriate discretion when MRTs communicate with medical or business staff.

The work of MRTs may sometimes be busy but during such moment, they must remain focused on their work.

CONTINUING EDUCATION

RHIT certification from AHIMA requires 20 h of continuing education every 2 years. These trainings benefit MRTs as they are provided with more training and they become more qualified to work in large medical settings.

SALARY

Salary of MRTs differ depending on their experience and geographical location. Their salary may range from $24,190 or $61,400 depending on annual median. The more experienced ones can expect higher salaries, whereas government may offer higher pay than private institutions.

The demand for MRTs is expected to increase in the coming years.