Top 5 Qualities of a Medical Coding and Billing Professional

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As a Healthcare provider who requires the use of medical coding or billing professionals, the quality of your employees is essential to the success of your clinics. Finding professional medical coders and billers who are certified professional coders (CPC), certified inbound coders (CIC), certified outbound coders (COC), certified risk adjustment coders (CRC) or certified professional billers (CPB) is an important step in the right direction, but cannot alone assure quality. If you want to find the best possible employees in this field, there are other traits and qualities which a person should possess in order to be successful. Our experience and research leads us to the following five most desired qualities that every medical coder and biller should have.

1. Detail Oriented

In order to code and bill correctly, a coder should be able to pay special attention to detail, be well-educated in their field and also re-check the descriptions of every code in your coding handbook. Being detail oriented is the first and most basic quality that every medical coder or biller should have in order to be accurate in their coding process, calculations and payment inquisitions. After receiving the patient’s information, the coder should have an eye that will evident all the potential mistakes, re-check their own work and fix or update any errors. To do the process correctly, the coder should be able to spot even minor or ambiguous details which is in fact one of the core tasks the profession requires, while at the same time being timely and diligent.

2. Analytical Skills

Undercharging or overcharging a patient are the greatest mistakes that a medical coder can make, which can be an end result of previous mistakes and shortcomings. If the coder doesn’t possess analytical skills, then they won’t be able to understand something which is handwritten or information that is not that clear. Without deciphering that information, the coding process cannot be accurately continued further which means obstructions and delay in the working process. Therefore, possessing analytical skills is essential in order for a coder to be successful. Applying logic and special attention to all the reports and information that is at times not straightforward will eventually result in creating the right codes and satisfied patients.

3. Technical Skills

Every medical coding professional should be comfortable with using the coding software, since most of the healthcare industries use electronic health and billing records. Aside from knowledge about using the software, a medical coder should be able to type quickly and flawlessly, use Microsoft Office and have exceptional data entry skills. There are also some other technical skills that a coder should possess, like familiarity with and navigating software applications and other basic computer skills. This doesn’t mean that they are required to be experts in dealing with technology, but they should have the essential skills to do their work and learn new techniques. If a tech problem arises, it would be beneficial to take a proactive approach, attempting to fix the issue instead of waiting for specialized tech help and put off their work causing further problems. Of course, the coder or biller should use their discretion to limit themselves to their level of knowledge about the issue.

4. Discretion and Ethics

Two things that everyone in the medical field should have, above all else, are discretion and ethics. Just like doctors, nurses and all other medical staff, medical coders are also dealing private patient information which should be handled with great caution and discretion. A medical coder has to keep high standards of confidentiality concerning the privacy of the patient while direct and honest, being aware that any errors that may not be admitted will cause even more problems later on. Any healthcare provider should have precautions in place in respect to keeping the patient’s private information secure, otherwise they will risk patient loyalty, lawsuits and the reputation of your organization.

5. Interpersonal Skills

Even though this type of healthcare job doesn’t require you to be in a direct contact with the patients, it requires interpersonal skills which will help a coder or biller perform their job better. Interpersonal skills can include those skills which will enable an employee to communicate with doctors, nurses and also coworkers in order to clarify any issues that will inevitably come their way. Maintaining a professional persona throughout the whole process is considered to be a great interpersonal skill. Without proper communication among coworkers, there is a higher risk of making mistakes which is clearly something everyone would like to avoid.