How Life Sciences students can learn medical coding and enjoy a job that combines knowledge of medical terminology and management with proficiency in English.
Akash, a young boy from Tiruchirappalli, wanted to be a researcher, so he took up BSc (Life Sciences) after class XII to follow his dream. As he began to understand the nuances of research, he realized that it might not be his cup of tea. At that point, he was uncertain of an alternative career. He stumbled upon medical coding that seemed exciting and close to the research work. Life Sciences graduates in India often find themselves struggling, due to lack of requisite skills and limited knowledge of alternative careers. This is the reason that many graduates fail to secure a suitable job. Medical coding is fast emerging as an exciting and lucrative career for Life Sciences students.
WHAT IS MEDICAL CODING?
Medical coding is the transformation of healthcare diagnosis, procedures, medical services, and equipment into universal medical alphanumeric codes. It is an essential process in the medical billing process and plays a vital role in the overall reimbursement cycle. It helps to ensure that healthcare providers are paid for all the services they render. Medical billers use these codes to submit claims to third-party payers while statisticians, researchers, public health officials, and internal auditors use these codes to determine what services were provided to patients, and why.
GROWING DEMAND FOR MEDICAL CODERS
With business booming in the healthcare outsourcing industry, the demand for medical coders is also rising exponentially. The adoption of new coding standards has led to more US-based healthcare clients looking to outsource these processes, and bring more business to the Indian BPOs. According to a joint study by Assocham and EY (India), India has emerged as the second largest destination after the US in the healthcare outsourcing space. The ability of the Indian players to analyze big data, discover hidden patterns and unknown correlations are making way for new jobs. With rising demand for better healthcare facilities and patient care in the US, the established medical and central lab infrastructure, and training centers are contributing to the growth of healthcare and life sciences sector, thereby fuelling the domestic demand for healthcare outsourcing in India.
The healthcare industry is going digital with the rapid adoption of EHRs and EMRs, eliminating sizeable volumes of paperwork. This is pushing the outsourcing sector to hire specialists to perform core tasks in the Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) process such as coding and billing. Healthcare providers in countries such as the US and other Anglophile countries trust India as a reliable hub for outsourcing many of their tasks because of the English-proficient medical coding professionals available in the nation.
CERTIFICATION – AN ADDED ADVANTAGE
While certification is not a mandate to secure a job as a medical coder, it would help increase the job opportunities. Preference may be given to candidates with a certificate in medical coding from a recognized institute as they would be more familiar with identifying and applying the right codes. Many institutes offer training and certifications in medical coding. Pick the institute based on the expertise of faculties and the kind of curriculum they adhere to. Being a streamlined sector, more women are taking coding as a career. Coding is mostly a desk job with fixed working hours, where one must utilize organizational and managerial skills, while also being linked to compartmentalizing and accuracy. Hence, medical coding is considered one of the suitable jobs for women.
FUTURE OF MEDICAL CODING IN INDIA
Medical coding is well established across the world with lucrative job opportunities for life sciences students and others inclined towards the healthcare field. Innovation and advancement in the healthcare space will be fast-paced with the rising demand for better patient experience and treatment. This is bound to open up more career opportunities. Of these, medical coding is one of the fast expanding segments in the healthcare field, and the demand for seasoned medical coders will rise.
(The author is vice president – Technical Training, Quality, and Operational Excellence Omega Healthcare Management Services)
COURSES IN MEDICAL CODING
While one can train to become a medical coder with any degree, a Life Sciences degree gives one the upper hand to become an ace medical coder. Strong knowledge of anatomy, physiology and medical terminology is an added advantage to become a medical coding specialist. Other skills necessary for a medical coder include:
- Sturdy analytical skill is essential because medical coding rules are complex and cryptic. Coders should be able to decipher the details in a patient’s record and apply the appropriate codes.
- Electronic health records, health informatics, and automation, are changing the face of the healthcare industry, making computer skills a basic requirement
- Coders should have an eye for detail. Coding being a critical process based on which reimbursements are made, a coder needs to be accurate and spot an error very quickly.
- Students with backgrounds other than the life sciences can also pursue a career in medical coding by taking courses and training at certified academies that offer extensive hands-on training in medical coding.
Source: Interested in career in Medical Coding? Know all the https://www.educationtimes.com/article/1/201903182019031619304552458bc6596/Interested-in-career-in-Medical-Coding-Know-all-the-details-here.html