A medical coder's role is to interpret and analyze a patient's medical record and translate particular details according to the universal medical alphanumeric code. Moreover, a medical coder is primarily responsible for ensuring that the translations are accurate, as this will play a vital factor in processing insurance and receiving treatments. Aside from accuracy, it is also crucial for a medical coder to coordinate with other hospital personnel at all times, especially when there inconsistencies in the records.

Medical Coder Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real medical coder resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Manage all EDI relate communication with trading partners and assist to produce all operational documents for all end users.
  • Manage all aspects of medical office administration, A/P, A/R, medical billing, coordinate surgeries/deliveries, maintain physician credentials.
  • Create documentation education classes to general surgery residents, increasing the leveling of reporting which lead to increase revenues.
  • Review complex medical records and accurately code primary/secondary diagnosis and procedures using ICD-10-CM and or CPT/HCPS coding conventions.
  • Review medical records to ensure specificity of diagnosis, procedures, and appropriate/optimal reimbursement for facility and/or professional charges.
  • Certify through AAPC as a CPC and CEMC.
  • Evaluate medical record documentation and charge ticket coding for correct ICD-9 and CPT codes.
  • Transition the NextGen interface from LabWest to LabCorp (familiar with HL7 messaging standard).
  • Code and process all in office billing charges, out-patient ambulatory surgery charges, hospital consultation & trauma coding.
  • Adhere to regulations with CPT-4, ICD-9-CM and HCPCS coding with medical terminology and effort meet all audit requirements.
Medical Coder Traits
Analytical skills have to do with gathering information from various sources and then interpreting the data in order to reach a logical conclusion that benefits the business.
Detail oriented involves being extremely mindful and observant of all details.
Integrity involves honesty and a high regard of morals.

Medical Coder Job Description

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as a medical coder is "should I become a medical coder?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, medical coder careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 11% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a medical coder by 2028 is 23,100.

On average, the medical coder annual salary is $41,657 per year, which translates to $20.03 an hour. Generally speaking, medical coders earn anywhere from $30,000 to $56,000 a year, which means that the top-earning medical coders make $26,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

As is the case with most jobs, it takes work to become a medical coder. Sometimes people change their minds about their career after working in the profession. That's why we looked into some other professions that might help you find your next opportunity. These professions include a health information technician, information management specialist, release of information specialist, and reimbursement specialist.

Medical Coder Jobs You Might Like

Medical Coder Resume Examples

Medical Coder Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 15% of Medical Coders are proficient in Medical Records, CPC, and Icd-10-Cm. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Detail oriented, and Integrity.

We break down the percentage of Medical Coders that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Medical Records, 15%

    Provide professional coding for physician/non-physician practitioner services in the charge capture department thorough review of medical records system documentation using Epic.

  • CPC, 10%

    Maintain CPC credentials by attending audio conferences, AAPC Chapter meetings and subscribing to AAPC Cutting Edge and newsletters.

  • Icd-10-Cm, 7%

    Provided timely and accurate ICD-10-CM codes for specific information for statistical purposes.

  • Facility, 6%

    Experience in audits involving evaluation and management services for inpatient and outpatient physician documentation, also facility side Emergency Department Audits.

  • Ahima, 6%

    Attended educational seminars for AHIMA certification and educated other staff as needed.

  • Clinical Documentation, 5%

    Communicated with physicians and clinical documentation specialists to ensure dictation accuracy, as well as with providers to appeal claim denials.

Most medical coders list "medical records," "cpc," and "icd-10-cm" as skills on their resumes. We go into more details on the most important medical coder responsibilities here:

  • The most important skills for a medical coder to have in this position are analytical skills. In this excerpt that we gathered from a medical coder resume, you'll understand why: "health information technicians must understand and follow medical records and diagnoses, and then decide how best to code them in a patient’s medical records." According to resumes we found, analytical skills can be used by a medical coder in order to "charge entry for the seton heart institute and seton healthcare family cbo; entered new patients into the database. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling medical coder duties is detail oriented. According to a medical coder resume, "health information technicians must be accurate when recording and coding patient information." Here's an example of how medical coders are able to utilize detail oriented: "perform detailed audits on billed insurance charges and physician documentation. "
  • Medical coders are also known for integrity, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a medical coder resume: "health information technicians work with patient data that are required, by law, to be kept confidential" We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "coded pediatric clinical visits for integrity of data and facilitated improved physician documentation. "
  • In order for certain medical coder responsibilities to be completed, the job requires the skill "interpersonal skills." According to a medical coder resume, "health information technicians need to be able to discuss patient information, discrepancies, and data requirements with other professionals such as physicians and finance personnel." As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "utilize interpersonal skills with insurance companies to resolve denied claim issues. "
  • As part of the medical coder description, you might find that one of the skills that might be helpful to the job is "technical skills." A medical coder resume included this snippet: "health information technicians must use coding and classification software and the electronic health record (ehr) system that their healthcare organization or physician practice has adopted." This skill could be useful in this scenario: "coded interventional radiology including cardiac catheterizations, peripheral procedures and all technical procedures. "
  • See the full list of medical coder skills.

    We've found that 27.7% of medical coders have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 3.7% earned their master's degrees before becoming a medical coder. While it's true that some medical coders have a college degree, it's generally possible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every three medical coders did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    Those medical coders who do attend college, typically earn either a health care administration degree or a business degree. Less commonly earned degrees for medical coders include a computer information systems degree or a nursing degree.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a medical coder. We've found that most medical coder resumes include experience from Dignity Health, Tenet Healthcare, and Banner Health. Of recent, Dignity Health had 27 positions open for medical coders. Meanwhile, there are 19 job openings at Tenet Healthcare and 15 at Banner Health.

    But if you're interested in companies where you might earn a high salary, medical coders tend to earn the biggest salaries at Purdue Pharma L.P., Doctors Hospital, and Northside Hospital. Take Purdue Pharma L.P. for example. The median medical coder salary is $87,870. At Doctors Hospital, medical coders earn an average of $76,470, while the average at Northside Hospital is $73,476. You should take into consideration how difficult it might be to secure a job with one of these companies.

    View more details on medical coder salaries across the United States.

    We also looked into companies who hire medical coders from the top 100 educational institutions in the U.S. The top three companies that hire the most from these institutions include Parallon Business Solutions, UnitedHealth Group, and Altegra Health.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious medical coders are:

      What Health Information Technicians Do

      A health information technician is primarily responsible for managing and handling patient information, ensuring accuracy and confidentiality. They coordinate with various health care workers to gather patient data, laboratory results, test findings, and medical histories, encoding them in clinical databases in a timely and efficient manner. They must analyze every information to detect any inconsistencies, performing corrective measures right away. Furthermore, as a health information technician, it is essential to utilize particular software and systems when processing information, all while adhering to the hospital's policies and regulations.

      We looked at the average medical coder annual salary and compared it with the average of a health information technician. Generally speaking, health information technicians receive $8,034 lower pay than medical coders per year.

      While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both medical coders and health information technicians positions are skilled in medical records, icd-9-cm, and data entry.

      There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a medical coder responsibilities require skills like "cpc," "icd-10-cm," "facility," and "ahima." Meanwhile a typical health information technician has skills in areas such as "customer service," "clinical staff," "regulatory agencies," and "office procedures." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

      Health information technicians really shine in the health care industry with an average salary of $38,127. Whereas medical coders tend to make the most money in the health care industry with an average salary of $58,694.

      Health information technicians tend to reach similar levels of education than medical coders. In fact, health information technicians are 1.3% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.8% less likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of an Information Management Specialist?

      An information management specialist is responsible for maintaining the security benchmark of all databases across the organization to support business functions and client requirements. Information management specialists sort and file data on the network systems and pull up reports from the storage database. They also analyze project management plans and utilize data tools to identify solutions and collect critical information. An information management specialist handles data management system troubleshooting and provide resolution reports to avoid downtime reoccurrence.

      The next role we're going to look at is the information management specialist profession. Typically, this position earns a higher pay. In fact, they earn a $38,491 higher salary than medical coders per year.

      While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both medical coders and information management specialists are known to have skills such as "medical records," "data entry," and "hipaa. "

      While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that medical coder responsibilities requires skills like "cpc," "icd-10-cm," "facility," and "ahima." But an information management specialist might use skills, such as, "procedures," "health information management," "customer service," and "privacy."

      It's been discovered that information management specialists earn higher salaries compared to medical coders, but we wanted to find out where information management specialists earned the most pay. The answer? The technology industry. The average salary in the industry is $99,091. Additionally, medical coders earn the highest paychecks in the health care with an average salary of $58,694.

      In general, information management specialists study at higher levels of education than medical coders. They're 9.8% more likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.8% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Release Of Information Specialist Compares

      A release of information specialist is primarily in charge of retrieving and releasing data to qualified recipients while adhering to the guidelines and confidentiality protocols that aim to protect sensitive information. Although the extent of their responsibilities usually depends on their industry or company of employment, it usually includes maintaining records of procedures and transactions, preparing and processing documents, organizing files, producing progress reports to managers, and keeping an eye out for any inconsistencies, resolving them promptly and efficiently.

      The third profession we take a look at is release of information specialist. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than medical coders. In fact, they make a $10,699 lower salary per year.

      By looking over several medical coders and releases of information specialist resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "medical records," "facility," and "data entry." But beyond that the careers look very different.

      There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a medical coder is likely to be skilled in "cpc," "icd-10-cm," "ahima," and "clinical documentation," while a typical release of information specialist is skilled in "customer service," "roi," "phone calls," and "subpoenas."

      Additionally, releases of information specialist earn a higher salary in the technology industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $55,802. Additionally, medical coders earn an average salary of $58,694 in the health care industry.

      Releases of information specialist are known to earn similar educational levels when compared to medical coders. Additionally, they're 0.2% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.5% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Reimbursement Specialist

      A reimbursement specialist is responsible for analyzing insurance documents, processing reimbursement claims, and releasing accurate billing statements for insurance claims. Reimbursement specialists must have excellent analytical skills, especially on performing clerical tasks to evaluate insurance cases, investigate cases, and update the account information of the clients on the database. They should also have impeccable communication skills and understanding of the insurance processes to be able to coordinate with the clients, explaining the procedures of their claims accurately, and coordinate with the insurance management to improve the claims processes.

      Reimbursement specialists tend to earn a lower pay than medical coders by about $9,106 per year.

      While both medical coders and reimbursement specialists complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like medical records, medicare, and data entry, the two careers also vary in other skills.

      While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "cpc," "icd-10-cm," "facility," and "ahima" are skills that have shown up on medical coders resumes. Additionally, reimbursement specialist uses skills like customer service, cpt, hcpcs, and party payers on their resumes.

      In general, reimbursement specialists make a higher salary in the pharmaceutical industry with an average of $41,270. The highest medical coder annual salary stems from the health care industry.

      The average resume of reimbursement specialists showed that they earn similar levels of education to medical coders. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 3.7% more. Additionally, they're less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 0.4%.