Frustrated by the Coding Practicum?

You just got through the coding modules. E/M coding almost killed you, but you survived. Now you’re looking back and wondering if you remember anything from the last four modules. At the same time, you are looking ahead at the giant pile of reports to code in the practicum; you may have even coded a few of them. You may feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and possibly astonished at the work it takes to learn medical coding. From someone who has been where you are now, allow me to offer a few words of advice…

Learning to use your books and apply guidelines has been the focus of the course thus far. Now you get to work on developing a new skill—abstraction. The practicum is composed of authentic medical charts, dictated by actual physicians in patient care situations. This means you will be reading physician-level writing and abstracting the pertinent info for code assignment. Abstraction is definitely a skill unto itself. A huge part of going through each of these charts is learning to identify key words and phrases and turn them into the right codes—this takes A LOT of practice. Don’t expect to be able to get all the codes right immediately!

Your scores on the practicum reports are not considered when we determine your eligibility to take the final exam. You need to attempt every report, but you do not need to get an 85% on them like you do on the Unit Tests and Module Exams. This gives you the opportunity to learn from each report by going through the documentation and coding what you can, submitting your codes, and working backward from the codes you missed. This is a valuable way to learn abstraction while simultaneously gaining indexing skills and learning which codes are appropriate for disparate report types.

The practicum component of online medical coding training takes a lot of discipline, but hopefully with these ideas in mind you can move through the reports with a little less stress and, instead, focus on learning from each report.

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14 thoughts on “Frustrated by the Coding Practicum?

  1. Jennifer says:

    I’m trying not to beat myself up when on cases I don’t even know where to begin. I know this is a skill that has to be learned with a lot of practice so I’m trying to keep that in mind and not get too discouraged.

    • Lana says:

      I’m right there with ya! I’m hoping it just will click!! I think I’m getting it then forget some codes from the beginning ???? I do feel better not to be the only one! Thanks for posting!

  2. Ashly Provorse says:

    I beat myself up when I can get two in a row right, and then the next one will take me six tries before I finally figure out what to code! Glad to know there is frustrating people with me!

  3. Anna B says:

    It is so frustrating cause I feel like I need to make 100 on all of them. It is taking me to much time getting through them this way I was glad to read that I don’t have to have perfect scores on them all ugh

  4. angela says:

    It is frustrating for sure. I read and reread and there are times I still miss something that needs to be coded. The explanations do help me learn from my mistakes though. I can then pinpoint those situations that tripped me up in other reports.

  5. Kimberly says:

    Seeing everyone’s post is reassuring to me. I thought that by this point I was supposed to be coding almost every question right one the 1st try and I felt like I was the only one struggling. This really helped. Thanks everyone good luck to all of you

  6. Liz says:

    Struggling hardcore as well guys…sometimes it’s a simple mistake like coding order, and others it’s just entirely the wrong code alltogether. Super frustrated, but I keep trudging along. Keep it up. We got this!!

  7. Stephanne says:

    I am on the first portion of the medical coding and billing. I have completed everything with an 85% or higher and it’s still telling me the course is incomplete. Can anyone help me understand?

  8. Lori says:

    This was such a blessing to read! I also thought that I should be getting these all correct. The coding order trips me up too! Feeling a little less overwhelmed reading this 🙂 I like the online course, but sometimes it would be nice to just be able to ask an actual person why something is coded a certain way!

  9. Suzanne says:

    I’ve never experienced so many highs and lows with something until I was introduced to coding;-) Comforting to see we are all having similar struggles! Really skeptical about the CPC exam! I am about to start the Neurology section in the practicum, if anyone else is close to that section and wants to work together let me know….without the help in the chat room, that has added another level of frustration as well!!

  10. Stacey says:

    I wish i had seen this when i started the practicum. Lol! Just started the neurology section as well and have been frustrated this whole time. I am glad I am not the only one. 🙂

  11. Briana Hill says:

    I’m so happy I’m not alone in being frustrated and completely terrified to finish and take the CPC exam! I’ve been doubting this idea wayyyy too much lately because of this practicum. I feel like I’ve forgotten wayyy too much stuff!

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