A medical coder is the expert coding professional who collects and records all the medical information in a healthcare facility. His/her day to day job involves compiling all the clinical information related to patients and store them giving a typical alphanumerical code. Without this contribution to medical sector by medical coders, modern healthcare industry may not reach this stage as it is today.
A medical coder does not need to come in this office every day. Most of the offices require that their medical coder have to come in their premises at least once or twice a week. This has become common practice in United States as every professional medical coder can easily do their job from home or any remote settings. Using this typical feature of this coding profession, some healthcare/medical service companies are outsourcing medical coders from India, China or Philippines at a much lower cost than the United States.
Now, the question comes what a medical coder typically does? What has made them so important is this ever changing medical industry? It is very interesting to know that they work also patient to patient basis. When a patient comes to a physician office or outdoor medical facility of a hospital, medical coder collect his/ her medical history and give it to patient. After the consultation, he compiles and records all the services provided to that patient in that visit, e.g. tests, medications, assessments, recommendations, exercises etc. Although, if the treatment fails or any side effects or contraindication was found later, the medical coder will give those inputs in the system later. In the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), medical coder give data inputs regarding patients treatments time to time as to keep pace with the changing services provided to that patient.
However, every medical coder or medical billing professional should always bear in mind that their little mistake could hurt a patient economically or sometimes even medically. In a recent study, it was found that there was almost 18,000,000 medical coding or billing errors last year. These errors must be overcome in order to raise the standard of medical practice in the country. So, a medical coder must maintain a high standard of ethical behavior beside a strong professional attitude. Every patient depend on the report he/ she gets from the medical coder from that medical institution. Although, physicians give the treatment, counseling and necessary medication to the patient, but the final report the patient gets for billing or to be used for future clinical purposes for that particular patient, is prepared by a medical coder.
Medical coders can select one of two carrier path in broad aspect, such as pure medical coder working in a physician’s office, hospital or health care settings or medical billing professional working in billing, accounts or finance department of any healthcare organization. But in terms of organization or workplace, they could work in hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centers as well as healthcare recruiting agencies, medical outsourcing agencies etc.