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The Healthcare industry is transformed and transitioned to the next level using technology at its best; it has come under the roof of the global sector.
Hence, the Medical coding jobs are on-demand now, and the institutes offering medical coding courses are also growing with rocket speed as they serve the purpose. The competency and the skill requirement are in a higher range.
Medical coding courses provide you with the required knowledge and opportunity for you to step into the healthcare industry.
Based on the information, from The Bureau of Labour Statistics, medical coding is one of the top twenty fastest-growing jobs.
The percentage of medical coding jobs will increase by 12% to 30 % by 2030. In the view of Pandemic, the requirement has reached its peak as the healthcare industry stood at the centre.
Who benefits from Medical Coding Course :
On a whole, the medical coding course is launched to benefit not only the professionals in the health department but indirectly help the insurance payers, legal advisors, and insurance consultants also.
The medical coding course syllabus and framework of exams and medical coding course fees are designed and decided in such a way to reach the needs and demands of the industry.
With the advancement of Computer Assisted Coding (CAC), the job of a medical coder has become easier. It helped to increase accuracy in the coding process.
1. What should you mind before you decide to become a medical coder:
- Different factors influence the person to become a successful medical coder – how deeply you desire to become a medical coder, how much time you can invest in learning, and how many skills you acquired.
- The first point you understand is that no job is a bed of roses and can not be a cakewalk so, you must acquire and upgrade skills according to the needs and demands of the industry. Acquire certifications and enjoy having challenges and learning yourself to overcome hurdles.
- Since there is a global-wide demand for medical coders, the chances of getting hired abroad are more, but only when you are sophisticated.
- Know the job responsibilities that a medical coder holds and the work hours per week.
- Know the pros and cons of being a medical coder- of course, as a medical coder, you play a crucial role at your workplace but may not handle patients directly.
- Research on the medical coding course syllabus and the medical coding course fees.
- Find out the institutes that offer training plus certification. Find out the process of enrolling in a medical coding course.
- Know the companies in and around you who are actively recruiting freshers.
2. Who are Medical coders? What do they do?
- As per our knowledge, the hospital body is just a doctor, a nurse, a receptionist, a lab technician, and a druggist. We also know that hospitals treat diseases, but they do a lot. It is high time to know hospitals not only deal with treating diseases but also do documenting.
- Without the paperwork, no job is called a complete job. The health industry has employees who work at the back end to do the paperwork. They are called medical coders, and their day-to-day job is to work at the desk and document the health records of patients, review clinical statements and translate them into a coded language.
- They need to pay greater attention to the details, and a small error may cause serious damage.
The Job description of Medical coder:
- The job of a medical coder is to do the documentation and store the data in an electronic device for future purposes. This document not only helps the physician to understand the health condition of a patient but to keep track and further treatments also.
- Medical coders must code and decode the data based on the international classification of diseases. The ICD system is agreed upon by the standards of the world health organisation and a few countries.
- The health data of patients includes-reports of diseases, tests underwent, treatments are given, administered drug data, equipment that has been used, insurance bills e.t.c are stored in a unique and accurate coded language with the help of manuals. The medical coders need not memorise all the codes or coding language.
- Each specification has its user guide or manual to follow.
For example, diagnosis of the disease and the treatment codes come under the ICD manual; codes for outpatient services and procedures are found in CPT (common procedural terminology) manual. It is highly advised for a medical coder to use unique coding language to enter the data but not to guess any codes.
- If a medical coder finds any difficulty in understanding and evaluating the health record of the patient, they must research to convert the data into coded language.
- Besides doing the documentation, medical coders play a significant role in connecting healthcare industries with insurance companies.
- They also work alongside the medical billers who use the correct codes for the billing process. Sometimes coders do the job of billers at some places.
Where do they work:
- Hospitals- front desk
- Nursing homes- with physicians.
- Health care centres.
- Rehabilitation centres
- Insurance companies.
3. What is a pay scale for a Medical coder in India and abroad
Candidates with CPT knowledge are in demand in the USA, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Brazil
- In India, If you enter as a beginner:
Starting salary is 190 rs per hour or 1,50,000 per annum. With the experience, it changes and reaches up to 15,00,000 per year.
- In the USA, the average salary for a fresher:
22$ per hour. 42,900 $ per year.
- In Dubai, the average salary for a fresher:
6,330 AED per month and can extend up to 13,500 AED.
- In Canada, Singapore, Newzealand, and Brazil, the average pay is just like the same in the United States of America.
4. Medical Coding Course Qualification
Medical Coding Course Qualification:
Who can pursue the medical coding course in India or Abroad?
Do you require any post-graduation degree or graduate degree to continue as a coder?
- Medical coding course qualifications are patience and dedication like any other course or job requires. Time management, Organisational skills, problem-solving skills, and communication skills are basic transferable skills that also are in need.
- If the person has a basic knowledge and understanding of science and medical terminology would be an added advantage.
- You must have analytical skills to analyse the data(in terms of the medical history of patients), read the physician’s notes, and communicate with the physicians.
- If you come from a background of non-life sciences, like B-Tech, MBA, or Post graduation in English, e.t.c..then you might need to do a few certification courses besides medical coding to understand the field better. This implies that there is no strict and bound rule for eligibility.
- There is no legally mandated rule for a person who possesses a bachelor degree in the medical field can only continue as a medical coder. The medical coding course qualification is that a person must complete schooling and graduation.
- If you wish to continue your career as a medical coder, yes, the so-called degrees or certifications will help you stand the first in a queue.
- Learning can happen at any time, so there is no age limit to do a medical coding course in our country. Age is just a number, and it does not impact your learning if you are determined to achieve it.
- The person can join the medical coding course after 12th and he can choose to do the course after a regular degree or at the age of forty.
Medical coding course after 12th and the course duration:
- There are various options available for you. Aspirant people can choose either postgraduate diploma programs or diplomas or graduate in medical coding courses after the 12th standard.
- The duration of the course usually changes based on the type of study or program that the person chooses.
- Those who take up medical coding courses after 12th standard are called bachelor degrees. The duration of the course is approximately three to four years.
- It is a complete path to becoming a professional as the person will be exposed to various other branches of the health and medical industry, and they study in detail.
- If a person decides to join a certification course after graduation or post-graduation, or for the person who has been working in the health industry is the quickest route.
- The duration is only about 150 hours or six to eight months. Certificate courses focus on the basics of medical coding like medical terminology, coding systems, and procedures. It is a kind of training for quick employment.
- Whatever program and the institute you choose, check the accreditation.
- CPT is the benchmark for a medical coder to become a professional.
5. Medical Coding Course Fees
- If you join institutes that offer training programs alone, the fee structure varies; if you choose training plus certification or credential the fees change. So, the medical coding course fee varies from program to program, package to package. It also depends upon whether you opted for in-person or online mode programs
- The approximate Medical coding course fees in India for AAPC membership candidates- are Rs 30000/- to 40000/-.
Non-AAPC membership candidates- Rs 35000/- to 45000/-
6. How to enhance skills to become a successful Medical Coder
To become successful in the industry, you must follow a few steps-
- Complete the basic education or medical coding course after 12th.
- Earn a credentialing certificate.
- Work in the industry for about six to seven months to gain experience.
- For this, you can join as an intern in any hospital or work with a physician.
Why should you earn credentials:
- There are chances of getting a 30 percent higher salary for a person who possesses the credentials than the person who has not.
- To keep the career in its stead, you must attend online courses/ workshops and attempt securing certifications.
- The institutes that are accredited to AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders), and AHIMA (American Health Information and Management Association) are offering advanced certification programs.
- Medical coding course qualification or certificate program also changes based on the type of industry you want to join or branch of the field you wish to work at.
Given below are some of the certification programs offered in India and abroad too:
- Certified Professional Coder
- Certified Coding Specialist
- Certified Medical Coder
- Certified Outpatient Coder
- Certified In-patient Coder
- Certified Professional Medical Auditor
- Certified Risk Examining Coder.
- Certified radiology coder.
- Certified rheumatology coder.
- Certified cardiovascular coder.
- Dental coding
- Postgraduate Diploma in medical coding.
- Executive Diploma in medical coding.
- Health information management software.
- Medical writing.
There are a few institutes offering courses online too. The requirement and medical coding course fee vary from institute to institute.
7. What Do you study in the course? What is the medical coding course syllabus?
You know, how the taste and the price of cuisine will change based on the time it gets cooked and the restaurant you go to.
Similarly, the medical coding Course Syllabus also varies from program to program. However, all the institutes must follow the basic guidelines and curriculum given by either Commission of Accreditation for Health and informatics and information management(CAHIIM) or AAPC and AHIMA.
Whatever the background of education you have, if you select any of the above courses you will study the basics to understand the human body and required coding language.
- Human anatomy
- World of healthcare
- Medical coding literature – the terminology – Etymology.
(CPT, ICD 9-CM, ICD -10 CM, DSM, CDT, APC, and HCPCS)
CPT – Current Procedural Terminology
ICD – International Classification of Diseases
DSM- Diagnostic and Statistical manual
CDT – Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature.
APC- Ambulatory Payment Categories.
HCPCS- Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System
7. Different Coding Procedures – for example, digestive system coding, urology coding, reproductive and endocrine system coding, pulmonology coding, musculoskeletal coding, comprehensive surgery coding anaesthesia coding e.t.c
8. Health Insurance Policies.
9. Health insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
10. Evaluating medical services, procedures, and guidelines.
11. Documenting medical records.
12. Medical Ethics.
14. Case Studies and Projects.
How to get a credential, certified professional coder, and certified coding specialist in India?
To get a Certified Medical Coder Credential:
Eligibility– A person from life sciences background/ pharmacy graduate or diploma holder can appear for the training and exam. The person must have been in the industry with prior work experience.
If the person does not submit the work experience certificate, he/she will be awarded CPC- A certification.
Fee: As I said, it depends on the institute you join, but I would like to mention the approximate exam fee- 530$ (including taxes).
Mode of test: The paper contains 100 multiple choice questions that assess 17 areas of knowledge. You have to answer a minimum of 70 questions correctly.
It is crucial to pass the exam. If you fail on the first attempt, you have a chance to retake the exam a second time. If you fail again, you have no chance to attempt. It is suggested to focus on gaining knowledge and attempt the test once you are confident.
The test Duration: 5 hours 40 minutes.
The CPC credential is valid for up to 10 years.
To get a Certified Coding Specialist credential,
eligibility: A person must be in the industry with a minimum of two years of work experience with certifications.
Fee: The AHIMA membership candidates are to pay -299$, for non-membership candidates – 399$.
Mode of the test: The test has a format and focuses on objective questions and descriptive questions that focus on knowledge, experience.
You must score 300 in four domains.
The four domains are – Coding knowledge and skills
8. Points to consider before enrolling in any of the courses or institute
- You must go through and compare the medical coding course syllabus and curriculum. -check whether it matches with the current demand in the industry.
- Duration of the course- how much time the institute is spending on each area and the overall duration
- Know your Trainer- Go through your trainer’s profile, where he/ she has worked earlier? What certifications are there in his or her training bag? Work experience? How long have they been in this industry and their achievements?
- Accomplishments of the Institute: How many people received training; how many people landed in their job positions successfully?
- Internship Program- a few institutes only offer internship programs. As a beginner, you must gain practical experience. Hence, you must enquire about the internship program.
- Placement support- What kind of placement support the institute provides? How long are they going to support it? What are the companies they tied up?
- Testimonials of previous students- If possible, talk to the person who has passed out from the respective institute and listen to their experience.
9. A few top institutes offering Medical coding Courses unlike conventional degrees
- Henry Harvin Institute – Bangalore
- Medical coding Training – Pune
- NIMC Medical Coding Training- Chennai
- Academy of Medical Coders- Noida
- Apex Medcom & Training Institute – Bengaluru
- Transcode Solutions- Hyderabad
- Resolve Medicode -Medical Coding Training Process
- Cardea Medical Coding Training Centre
- Joshi Medicode Technologies- Hyderabad, Telangana
- Sigma Healthcare Academy
When I researched to find the best medical coding training institutes keeping the above points in mind, I came across Henry Harvin institute’s medical coding course.
10. Top 10 global companies that are actively recruiting medical coding employees India-wide and their locations:
- Visionary RCM infotech- Chennai, Coimbatore, and Hyderabad
- EPI source.- Chennai and Mumbai
- Omega Healthcare. Chennai and Bangalore
- GeBBS healthcare solutions. Mumbai and Aurangabad
- AGS health Chennai
- Cognizant technologies Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad
- Advantmed Gujarat.
- 3Gen consulting services Pune
- IKS health Mumbai
- Global Healthcare billing partners- Chennai.
In this Pandemic Health industry one of the major industries that stood globally, and yes, it is in need of medical coders. So better not late and take up the course and race your career with skills.
- Top 10 Medical Coding Courses in India
- Top 30 Medical Coding Interview Questions
- Top 10 Medical Coding Training Courses in Chennai
- Top 12 Medical Coding Courses in Pune
- Top 10 Medical Coding Courses In Bangalore
Q1. I come from a non-life science background and want to pursue medical coding. Am I eligible?
Ans: Yes. A life science background is preferable. However, non-life science students are also eligible.
Q2. Do I have to have any computer knowledge to join the course?
Ans: To join the course you do not require any computer skills. However, during the course, you will learn.
Q3. Is the CPC exam mandatory to become a professional coder?
Ans: CPC certification is the benchmark for medical coders. If you pass the exam once, you do not need to retake the exam.
Q4. What is the basic salary for a Medical coder?
Ans: 1.5 lakh per annum in India