Medical Data Entry Training Programs and Courses
Community colleges and vocational schools offer training in medical data entry through such programs as an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Coding & Billing.
Medical coders, also known as medical billing specialists, are healthcare professionals who specialize in recording patient data and medical procedures for insurance and billing purposes. Most are trained through 2-year associate's degree programs that teach them the specific skills needed to quickly and efficiently compile medical data into appropriate documents. Some programs are available through online study.
Students enrolled in a degree program related to medical data entry must learn the various codes, medical terms and abbreviations that apply to procedures and diagnoses. Those codes are used by insurance companies to make payments for ill and injured patients. Students also get an overview of the various types of employers that require data entry skills, including hospitals, doctor's offices, insurance companies and nursing homes. During the program, students should build a strong sense of professional standards and communication in order to better interact with medical personnel and patients.
A high school diploma is one of the most standard prerequisites to gaining acceptance into any associate's degree program, including an associate's degree program in medical data entry or medical coding. Students should also have strong keyboarding and computer usage skills.
A degree program in medical coding, billing and data entry should include courses that focus on the practicalities of the profession while also preparing students to work in one or more healthcare environments. Some examples of common courses are listed below:
- Healthcare environments
- Medical terminology
- Coding systems
- Reimbursement methods
- Coding principles
- Government regulations
- Medical records
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Medical records and health information technicians held down more than 182,000 positions in the field in 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The majority of professionals worked for surgical and general hospitals, but the top-paying employer is the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry. As of May 2013, the median annual wage for these professionals was $34,970. The BLS projected job growth of 22%, much faster than the average for all occupations, for medical records and health information technicians from 2012-2022.
It is common for medical coders and other health information technicians to earn certification or credentials. The American Health Information Management Association allows professionals to become Registered Health Information Technicians once they earn an associate's degree and pass a credentialing examination. The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the Board of Medical Specialty Coding (BMSC) also offer certification in the field.
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