Where Do Medical Coders Work? Places You Might Not Have Considered
If you are unfamiliar with medical coding, it might sound mysterious. What are these codes and where do medical coding specialists work? Medical billing and coding jobs exist throughout the ever-expanding system of healthcare, and in some places that may surprise you. You can gain medical coding skills that are highly valued by a variety of employers. In fact, students in Oak Lawn, IL, and the greater Chicago area can earn a medical coding specialist certificate within the associate degree program for Health Information Technology at Northwestern College. Here, we discuss the many work environments of medical coders.
What Are Medical Codes?
These codes serve two main purposes: to track costs and facilitate billing of patients and insurance companies and to record and follow all the diagnoses and treatments received by patients. This is a tall order, and because the healthcare industry contains a complicated structure of related institutions and service centers, medical coding is required throughout. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these jobs are projected to grow by nine percent between 2020 and 2030.
Workplaces for Medical Coders
As modern healthcare advances in diagnoses and treatments, and as large segments of the population in the United States age, medical coding and billing job opportunities keep expanding. That means medical coders are needed in a wide variety of settings, including:
As you might expect, medical coding specialists work in hospitals. However, these institutions offer a variety of work environments, as well as services and specializations. There are local, regional, state, and private hospitals. Some are connected to universities and research centers, and some specialize in certain illnesses and conditions, such as pediatric hospitals. Opportunities exist for medical coding specialists to work in a variety of interesting and worthwhile settings, such as burn or trauma units, psychiatric hospitals, or pediatric cancer wards.
Special Purpose Registries
There are multiple registries for clinical research trials maintained by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and many registries exist throughout healthcare to collect information about patients who have specific diseases, chronic illnesses, and genetic illnesses. Cancer registries are one example. They may collect information about certain types of tumors or patients who have received advanced treatments and therapies. By translating and recording the medical codes for this information, medical coding specialists perform important work that guides and informs new research that may benefit these patients.
The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NCHS is just one example of a government institution that tracks health data. While the NCHS is a federal agency, government institutions at the state and regional level also compile and analyze population data, including health and medical information. Medical coding specialists make sure that the data is correct, by making sure that the codes for each diagnosis, treatment, and outcome are accurate and recorded properly. Elected officials, agency leaders, healthcare organizations, and others rely on these population and health statistics.
Get Started with Medical Coding in Health Information Technology
As you can see from these examples, medical coding specialists perform valuable, important work within the healthcare industry. Due to the universality of the coding systems used, and the painstaking education that medical coding specialists receive, they are needed in every facet of healthcare. In Oak Lawn, IL, and the greater Chicago area, students can earn a certificate in medical coding and billing. To get started in the associate degree program for Health Information Technology, contact Northwestern College today.