What are the Key Skills needed for a Medical Coder?

Experts suggest that healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world when it comes to employment and job opportunities. Increasing global populations, along with scientific and technological advancements in healthcare are propelling this boom. The result is that there is a plethora of opportunities of all kinds in the healthcare sector today beyond the conventional ‘doctor’ or ‘nurse’, and more and more individuals are rushing in to fill these positions.

One such enterprising and lucrative career is in the field of medical coding. A medical coding job involves helping standardize the diagnostic procedures, medical services as well as equipment and product records in the form of universal alphanumeric codes, compliant with state and federal regulations. Believe it or not, medical coders have increased so much in significance over the last few years that they have essentially become the backbone of any healthcare organization’s financial health.

So, if you are thinking of becoming a medical coder someday in a top company, you might be curious about what it takes to become one. Here, we have compiled seven key skills you need to land the job of a medical coder.

7 Must-Have Skills to Become a Medical Coder

Mandatory Educational Qualification

The first and foremost criterion for becoming a medical coder is to attain the right educational qualification for it. Several academics these days are offering coding courses to help individuals develop an understanding of the field. You can learn to decipher key medical terminologies as well as analyze medical records essential for accurate coding.

Knowledge and Understanding of Clinical Anatomy

Medical coding is much different from healthcare service as we commonly understand it. And yet, a medical coder should have a fair understanding of the human body and clinical anatomy. Why? This is because only an in-depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and diseases, like a regular healthcare practitioner, will enable medical coders to accurately understand clinical documentation.

This could include various tests, mentions of particular health conditions as well as diagnosis of particular diseases. The application of the right ICD and CPT guidelines and codes, thus, requires coders to be familiar with technical medical terminology.

Attention to Detail

Medical coding is all about assigning alphanumeric codes to various medical records, and handling these can turn out to be a tricky affair for someone who is inattentive or not great with details. Allocating improper codes to even a single diagnostic medical procedure could snowball into a massive problem in later stages not just for the administration but also for healthcare providers and patients.

Therefore, the skill of attention to detail is a must for medical coders as their day-to-day task involves capturing relevant details in medical documentation, checking for errors, and removing them, as well as supervising the overall quality of records. An efficient medical coder with an eye for detail helps ensure accurate billings as well as successful treatment outcomes.

Impressive Communication Skills

It is true that medical coders do not have to deal with patients, and yet good communication skills are a must for this profession. This is because coders are expected to frequently interact with healthcare providers and administrative officials to discuss relevant details, whether in terms of patients’ health records, diagnostics, treatments, billing, revenue management, and more.

Medical coders are expected to maintain a professional tone in their accent and communications on a day-to-day basis, while also being good listeners so as not to miss out on any important detail. Besides, non-verbal communication skills are an equal must. Medical coders often have to write lengthy but good reports, and they should be grammatically accurate to be able to deliver these reports successfully.  

Adaptability and Fast Learning

The profession of medical coding is dynamic and still evolving. Medical coders have to remain upbeat with not just the latest trends and happenings in the healthcare industry, but also with frequently updated regulations and compliances for their sector. Therefore, it becomes crucial for coders to adapt to these possibly frequent changes. Only a fast learner will have the flexibility and aptitude for a dynamic career of a medical coder.

Enthusiasm for Technology

A medical coder is required to work using multiple technologies and platforms every day. Add to that the specific needs of organizations, and it is quite possible that there will be exclusive individual software to deal with.

This is why medical coders need to be proficient and enthusiastic about getting acquainted with various technologies, including MS Office, ICD-10-CM and CPT navigation tools, unique healthcare systems for billing and coding, document management software, and so on.

Analytical and Evaluation Skills

Reviewing, evaluating, and identifying key observations from medical records of patients, including illnesses, symptoms, diagnoses, procedures, and treatments are all part of a medical coder’s day. They must assign standardized codes to each element to simplify information access and sharing for all stakeholders. This is why medical coders must be equipped with good analytical and evaluation skills.

The Number of Job Seekers in Medical Coding is Rising

With time, the healthcare industry and its participant organizations are increasingly relying upon medical coding companies, making them a hub for lucrative and successful career opportunities. No wonder, more and more talented individuals are trying to equip themselves with the right education and skills for such a job.

The profession is only going to grow from pillar to pillar in the years to come, as the healthcare industry is recording phenomenal growth globally. With the plethora of opportunities opening up, interested individuals should seek opportunities in reputed medical coding companies that provide offshore services to hospitals and clinics, so that they can work in an environment of learning and opportunity.