What is Medical Coding?
Medical Coding is the practice of assigning codes to diagnosis and procedures which help in financial reimbursement from insurance companies, government agencies and private companies. Observations, medical interventions and treatment outcomes are assigned a code, recorded and stored, often digitally. Medical coders are tasked with interpreting and recording this data in an accurate and detailed manner, so that it may be used in filing insurance claims and medical billing. Health Information Management encompasses many technical processes and devices all geared toward digitizing medical data accurately so that it can be distributed to organizations such as insurance agencies, medical research facilities, pharmacies and other doctors.
Why pursue a career in Medical Coding?
The advancement of medical technologies has promoted the number of medical tests, treatments and procedures performed by healthcare providers. Scrutiny of these medical records by regulators, insurance companies, consumers and courts continues to increase. Trained coding specialists help patients and physicians get their claims filed though accurately by applying detailed records management skills. The Federal government has set a goal for all Americans to have electronic health records by 2013, which will create nearly 5 million new health care jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Demand for Medical Coding Specialists
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for Medical Coding Specialists is expected to grow much faster than the average. Job prospects should be very good, particularly for technicians with strong computer software skills.
The Associate of Occupational Science in Health Information Management with a concentration in Medical Coding is a comprehensive, undergraduate associate degree program. It provides 60 semester credit hours of instruction, 20 of which are devoted to laboratory work. Computer based training is used each semester to enhance learning. Day and evening students receive 20 hours of instruction per week for 4 semesters (60 weeks).
Students completing this program will earn an Associate of Occupational Science in Health Information Management with a concentration in Medical Coding.