Medical coding is a type of medical service that involves assigning special codes to medical diagnoses and services. Although many healthcare facilities hire medical coder to work in in-house offices, some choose to outsource this work to remote medical coders.
A remote medical coder is a medical coder that work away from the facilities that they are coding for. Some remote coders work for large medical coding companies, while others work as independent contractors, often from the comfort of their own homes.
Healthcare facilities usually send the documents, charts, and records that need to be coded to off-site medical coders via fax. The coders will then proceed to code the documents. Once the documents are coded, remote medical coders will then send them either to insurance companies for billing purposes or back to the facility.
Outsourcing coding work to remote medical coders is advantageous to some healthcare facilities because it eliminates the need to keep track of additional employees. Healthcare facilities that outsource their coding work also don’t usually need to offer or pay for benefits for coders, since they are not employees.
A remote coding career also has several advantages for qualified independent contractors as well. Work-at-home medical coders are often able to work around their own schedule, for instance, as well as work from the comfort of their own homes.
Duties and Responsibilities
A remote coder’s day typically starts by receiving medical charts and records that need coded from various healthcare facilities. They must then study these charts and records, and determine and assign the most appropriate and accurate codes. This is done using specialized medical coding computer software.
Remote coders should be familiar with using various medical codes, which are used for different scenarios and services. These include International Classification of Diseases (ICD), Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), Diagnosis-related Group (DRG) codes. Once the documents are coded, remote medical coders will then send them either to insurance companies for billing purposes or back to the facility.
Unlike medical office coders, remote medical coders will often work on several different accounts from different healthcare facilities. Because of this, they must take special care to keep their records extremely organized and accurate.
Necessary Skills, Education, and Experience
Medical coding involves the use of very specialized computer software. Therefore, remote medical coders should be computer savvy, as well as willing and able to stay updated on the latest technological advances in the field.
Effective communication skills are also important in a medical coding career, as medical coders will often find it necessary to communicate with co-workers, insurance company representatives, and medical professionals. As a remote medical coder, you should also have organizational skills and be able to complete quickly and accurately under strict deadlines.
Although medical coding diploma programs are available, completing a two year associate degree program in medical coding is usually recommended. Most medical coding companies require their coders to be certified, and in order to be eligible to sit for most certification examinations, you must hold a minimum of an associate degree.
The two most recognized organizations that offer certifications for medical coders are the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the American Association of Medical Coders (AAMC). AHIMA certifications include the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) and Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certifications, as well as the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) certification, which requires a four year degree.
Some medical coding companies may consider applicants with no experience to work on-site. However, if you’re looking to become a remote medical coder and work from your own home, you’ll most likely need at least a few years of experience in the field.
Tips for Getting a Job as a Remote Medical Coder
Before searching for a job as a remote medical coder, put together a powerful resume that highlights what you have to offer. This includes any relevant education, certification, and experience. Combined with a personalized cover letter and professional letters of recommendation, your medical coding resume will be one of your most important tool during your job search.
Since some medical coding companies require experience, you may also need to work at a hospital or physician’s office before transitioning into a remote medical coding career. Experience is also imperative if you’re looking to start your own business or work at home.
Finding legitimate work at home medical coding jobs can be somewhat difficult, however. You may want to start by offering your coding services to local medical and healthcare facilities in your area. Job leads can also be found on online job boards and forums. Remember, you should never have to pay a company to work for them. You should also research any work at home opportunity before accepting a position with a company.