By Kounal Gupta
Healthcare is one of the largest sectors in India in terms of employability and revenue building. It is growing at a brisk pace due to its impeccable coverage, services, and increasing expenditure by private and public players. Over the last two years, the healthcare industry has seen rapid changes as the pandemic situation highlighted the need to update medical infrastructure and systems. Along with these changes, new fields are sufficiently growing and creating lucrative career options for young individuals looking to start a career in the medical field. One such dynamic career option is medical coding, which is playing a critical role in accurately accelerating medical procedures. Therefore, India’s future and competitive advantages lie in preparing an adequate, talented pool of medical coding professionals.
Medical Coding: A crucial aspect of the billing process
Every time a patient visits a hospital or clinic, medical coding takes place. The healthcare professional examines the body and checks the medical history of the individual. The role of medical coding is to convert these diagnoses, procedures, services, and everything else included into alphanumeric codes. The medical coding professional ensures that these codes are accurately applied during the ‘medical billing’ procedure. They extract the billable information from the paperwork and prepare the claim to be paid by the insurance companies.
To be a medical coding professional, an individual must be well versed in medical terminology, including the diseases, anatomy of the body, treatment procedures, diagnosis tools, and tests. In addition, they must cultivate updated knowledge of codes such as ICD-10-CM (International Classification of Diseases), HCPCS (Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System), and CPT® (Current Procedural Terminology).
The scope, growth, and steps to start from
The pandemic crisis has led to heightened demand for skilled labour across the departments. India is the second largest healthcare outsourcing destination, and nearly 80% of the medical business procedures in the USA are outsourced to our country. Thus, medical coding is a career that individuals must choose due to its elevated demands and several occupation opportunities in healthcare institutions. Furthermore, the demands will keep surging with the advent of CAC (computer-assisted coding), which is easing the work of medical coders across the globe.
To start with, individuals can enroll in an online certification course that provides hands-on training and extensive subject knowledge, as the medical coding professional is someone who is an expert in multiple domains. Before taking a course, the student must check the components of the curriculum. The syllabus of the course must contain essential topics such as medical ethics, terminology, anatomy, physiology, ICD-10 CM diagnostic coding, CPT coding, and HCPCS coding. The course must provide value for learners and teach the importance of medical coding while documenting medical records. Moreover, to sufficiently get selected for high-paying jobs, individuals must cultivate soft skills such as effective communication, problem-solving, adaptability, critical thinking, etc.
All things considered
To pursue a medical coding career, an individual must have the analytical abilities to read and understand the medical records of the patients while applying the correct medical codes for the billing procedure. Few professional coders in this field are self-employed. Moreover, medical coding professionals can get jobs under the titles of Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC) and Certified Outpatient Coder (COC) for the patients getting in-and-out treatments. The medical records and health information technician field is a high-demand profession as the demand for medical coders is 40% higher than the supply. Furthermore, individuals choosing this career will experience faster growth as the integration of technology and data is increasing in the healthcare industry. Medical coders can also gain various functional abilities to explore different fields such as medical billing, audits, documentation enhancements, and compliance. Also, most medical coding courses take less than 12 months to complete, allowing students to start their careers quickly.
Success in this field depends entirely on the continual learning abilities of the professional and their curiosity to stay updated with industry news, current affairs, and new technological advancements.
The author of is article is founder, CEO, Henry Harvin Education. Views expressed are personal.