Are you looking to start a medical coding career, but you still want to work at home? Are you interested in how you can have career stability without the commute? Is medical coding the right choice for you?
Strong organizational and communication skills, being a self-starter, and attention to detail are important aspects of being a medical coder at home. Medical coding from home requires the same education as other medical coding positions, and there are multiple logistical issues to consider.
What Is Medical Coding?
Medical coding involves translating medical records and is fundamental to maintaining integrity in healthcare.
There are sets and subsets  of medical codes that coders must learn, including International Classification of Diseases (ICD), Current Procedure Terminology (CPT), and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS).
A medical coder must assign the proper codes to doctors’ charts and other medical communications. It is essential for billing, insurance companies, Medicare payments, underwriting risk assessment, public health records, and medical education.
In addition to working at home, medical coders work  primarily in hospitals, physician’s offices, administrative and support services, scientific and technical services, and skilled nursing facilities.
Can You Work Remotely?
Many medical coders who work from home may find it easier to transition to that role if they have prior experience in an office or hospital. This prior experience can lead to more opportunities for medical coding from home.
Mentoring and individualized training in an on-site environment can be important to furthering the skill set needed to begin working remotely and demonstrating your value as a coder.
A secure room or computer is usually required to meet HIPAA compliance, and a fast internet connection is also very important for medical coding from home.
Are You a Contractor or a Remote Employee?
A contractor  is typically full-time or part-time, working from a home office with contracted clients. As a contractor, it helps to have an entrepreneurial spirit, as you may need to regularly obtain new clients. Clerical staff can be hired to help with office management duties.
Medical coders who choose the contracting route are often sub-specialists who have contracts with hospitals, insurance companies, and coding firms. Contracting work can be less steady than being employed by a specific company, because clients aren’t always obligated to renew contracts.
Remote employees  are typically directed by managers or supervisors, with schedules and salaries negotiated with their employers. Part-time hours can be common with this arrangement.
Is Medical Coding a Growing Field?
The job outlook for Medical Record and Health Information Technicians is strong, and is expected to grow  by 13% between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than average growth.
Hospitals are accommodating more remote medical coders by offering flexible schedules and part-time work due to demand for medical coders as the population ages. Remote  medical coders, however, are still only about a third of all medical coders.
Is Medical Coding Right for You?
It is necessary to receive certification from a professional organization to be a medical coder. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) are the two main organizations that administer the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam.
The Delta Technical College (Delta Tech) Medical Coding Specialist Program is a nine month (35 week) program that can prepare students for the CPC exam and may provide the opportunity to begin careers as medical coders. The Delta Tech Medical Coding Specialist Program is offered only at the Horn Lake, MS campus, where daytime and evening classes are available.
Other factors to consider when choosing a career as a medical coder include:
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that as of 2017, the median salary for medical coders was $39,180  a year.
- Medical coders must be scrupulous and detail-oriented in their work, with few mistakes.
- Tight deadlines, even if working at home, are common so that work doesn’t get backlogged.
- Medical coders spend many hours at the computer, and it is often solitary work.
- Medical coders must develop an understanding of a physician’s notes and diagnoses.
Is Medical Coding from Home an Option for You?
Medical coding is a growing field, and could be a good fit for you if you want to work part-time or independently from a secure home office. After completing the Medical Coding Specialist Program at Delta Tech, you will have the skills to begin an entry-level position as a medical coder, which could transition to medical coding from home. The first step toward your new career is contacting the Admissions Team at Delta Technical College to learn about enrolling in the Medical Coding Specialist Program.
Sources https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/icd-10-hcpcs-and-ruc-resources  https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm  https:/www.legalzoom.com/articles/employee-vs-independent-contractor-differences-you-need-to-know  https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm#tab-3