Online Medical Billing, Coding and Transcription
What is medical Billing, Coding and Transcription? Medical billing refers to recording the patient history of people who are admitted into clinics, hospitals and other medical practices. Although patient records used to consists of paperwork, these days medical coding and billing professionals are trained to use medical billing software, such as electronic health records—or EHRs. These records are essential to efficient diagnostics, organization, and insurance billing.
According to the BLS, medical billing technicians will not only need to be familiar with EHR software, but also of EHR security and privacy practices and be able analyze electronic data to improve healthcare information for providers and hospitals.[i] Though certificate programs differ depending on the school, programs generally will cover techniques such as accuracy in medical coding, managing cash flow, using coding software and learning diagnosis and coding procedures. You may also choose to specialize in an area such as medical transcription, which involves transcribing a doctor’s dictation into print and electronic documents.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in medical coding and billing, you may want to consider earning a medical coding and billing certificate. Medical coding and billing certificates – whether online or on campus—could be a great way to learn basic skills and protocols within the field, or to increase you knowledge if you already work in the industry.
Let’s take a look at an example of a career in medical coding and billing – including responsibilities, salary potential and job outlook
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
Medical records and health information technicians are responsible for organizing and managing health information data and ensuring that it is accurate, accessible and secure in paper and electronic systems. Health information technicians use different classification systems to categorize and code patient information for databases and registries, insurance reimbursement and to maintain medical and treatment histories.
Some examples of duties that health information technicians may perform include[i]:
- Reviewing patient records for timeliness, accuracy and appropriateness
- Tracking patient outcomes
- Organizing and maintain data
- Using classification software to assign clinical codes
- Electronically recording data for collection, storage, retrieval and analysis
- Protecting patient data for confidentiality and security
Health information technicians may also choose to specialize in different areas. For example, medical coders typically review patient information for pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and work as a liaison between the health clinician and billing offices. While cancer registrars typically assign codes to represent the diagnosis and treatments of cancers and analyze and compile cancer patient information for research.
Median annual salary: $34,160[ii]
Job outlook, 2012-22: 22% growth (much faster than average)[ii]
Why Pursue a Medical Coding & Billing Certificate Online
Healthcare isn't just about taming illness — it's also about taming paperwork. With an unprecedented number of patients being admitted (and readmitted) into clinics, hospitals, and private health practices, the challenge is twofold: Treating those who are sick, and recording their patient history. That is where medical billing specialists come in. As the days of thickly-stuffed manila folders come to an end, these professionals are streamlining processes by using medical billing software such as EHR (electronic health records). Especially in cases where the patient has been seeing the same physician or specialist for a long time, such records can be integral to proper diagnostication, organization, and insurance billing.
One of the best ways to stay up-to-date with the fast-changing modern challenges of medical billing and procedures is to consider earning a medical coding & billing certificate online. From the convenience of home, you could learn important job-specific duties such as processing claims to medical insurance companies so that healthcare providers are paid for their services. With patient payment plans and medical insurance protocols undergoing changes, it is critical to be aware of how to handle them. Some careers that motivated graduates may wish to pursue include office manager, assistant administrator, and billing supervisor. These careers span many healthcare settings including, but not limited to, hospitals, clinics, and private practices.
Since medical billing and coding is such a broad field, you may be interested in pursuing an area of interest, such as medical transcription. Now, more often than not, you are likely to hear the sound of a medical transcriptionist transcribing a doctor's dictation tapes into print and electronic documents. While many offices still keep paper records, software is generally taking precedence. A medical coding & billing certificate online could be a requirement for employment as a medical transcriptionist.
These days, the majority of claims are processed through electronic data interchange — not paper forms. Though not all medical billing programs are created alike, most will cover techniques for a paper-less field: How to achieve accuracy in medical coding, manage cash flow, use industry-standard medical coding software, and learn diagnosis and coding procedures. Depending on the school and the program you enroll in, you may also be able to sit for exams like the Certified Coding (CPC) exam and/or the Certified Medical Billing Specialist (CMBS) exam. In addition to foundational knowledge, online courses may also offer hands-on training for technology like the Current Procedural Terminology database, as well as how to transmit that data to insurance companies.
[i] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm#tab-2 | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm
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