Change can be scary, but if you are ahead of the trend, you’re much more likely to come out ahead. For medical billing and coding professionals, the transition from the ICD-9 to ICD-10 coding system was drastic—but that’s not the only change you need to be ready for in this ever-changing industry. Here are our top 4 suggestions on how to keep up on developments in the field and stay relevant in the medical coding and billing industry.
1. Become an ICD-10 pro.
As you know, the U.S. moved from the ICD-9 to the ICD-10 coding system last October. Even if you have been trained in the new system, there are a whopping 71,924 procedure codes and 69,823 diagnosis codes to learn: odds are you still have many to master (even when you consider that you won’t be using all 141,000+ on a regular basis). Some employers provide training, but it may be necessary to take the lead on staying ahead of the industry. Enrolling in a formal training program like Career Step’s ICD-10 coding training could be just what you need.
2. Prepare to work with EHR systems.
EHRs are digital patient records that are instantly accessible to authorized personnel. The EHR system improves patient care, enhances efficiency, and lowers costs—it’s no wonder that this has been a regulatory focus and so many healthcare facilities are jumping on board. In fact, now more than 75% of hospitals nationwide use EHR systems. So how does this affect your job?
An EHR system makes the medical billing and coding process more efficient and accurate as long as professionals know how to navigate the technologies and software. This calls for comprehensive training. How familiar are you with EHR systems and computer skills?
3. Keep up credentials.
If you don’t have a credential, get one (like the CPC from AAPC or the CCA from AHIMA). If you do, keep your industry credential current by completing the continuing education requirements. New codes are continually added to ICD-10, so it is essential to stay on top of each code release.
4. Stay abreast of the dynamic industry.
Politics and technology have drastically altered the medical coding and billing industry in the last few years; keeping abreast of these changes is an important part of your job. For example, the Affordable Care Act brought a huge influx of Americans into medical care. This in turn increased the work for medical coders and billers and created a demand for more coding professionals. Knowing how legislation may affect your job may help you keep it and even give you a leg up in the industry.
As a practicing or aspiring medical coding or billing specialist, the ball is in your court. Don’t run the risk of being left behind. Stay relevant by investing in your career and keeping current with industry trends.
What other trends have you seen in the industry? Help others keep current by commenting below.