Fully online diploma programs in medical coding and billing are relatively easy to find. Hybrid programs that incorporate traditional classroom learning and distance learning elements are also fairly common. Even in fully online programs, though, there's the possibility that students will need to complete a coding practicum on campus. When choosing a diploma program, consider an accredited program, which may help you earn professional certification. Certification for medical coding and billing is voluntary, but it may be preferred by some employers.
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Diploma in Medical Coding and Billing
An online diploma program in medical coding and billing can help students prepare for entry-level health information and medical records technician careers. Students can learn about managing health records and streamlining the healthcare system by using standardized billing and coding practices. Online diploma programs are commonly found at for-profit schools and public community colleges. The curricula typically lasts 10-12 months and could include a supervised practicum that can be completed online or at a local clinic.
Program Information and Requirements
Although coursework in online diploma programs in medical coding and billing can be completed fully online, hybrid classes are also available that require hands-on training and some classroom meetings. Online programs are usually offered in an asynchronous format, allowing students to participate in courses at their convenience.
Lectures and assignments could be delivered through a course management system, such as Blackboard or Moodle, which allows online students to communicate in a message board-style environment. Hybrid or Web-enhanced courses usually involve some face-to-face meetings or hands-on training combined with an online method for submitting assignments and quizzes or receiving grades.
List of Common Medical Coding Courses
Most online medical coding diploma programs require some core coursework in medical terminology, basic anatomy and computer applications. Specialized courses often cover healthcare reimbursement policies, pharmacology and health informatics.
Students learn to negotiate payment systems, billing processes and regulatory guidelines related to healthcare costs. Compliance in reporting reimbursements is also emphasized.
The scientific properties and definitions for medicinal drugs are covered in this course. Drug effects, absorption and classifications are areas of focus.
Students learn about the design, implementation and application of electronic health information systems in this course. Imaging technology, information security and data modeling are covered.
Students graduating from an online diploma program in medical coding and billing might find positions like medical records clerk, coder or health information clerk. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment for medical records and health information technicians would increase by 15%, faster than the average for all occupations, between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015, the BLS reported an average annual salary of $40,430 for medical records and health information technicians.
Continuing Education Information
According to the BLS, employers often prefer to hire applicants with an associate's degree or professional certification. Online associate's degree programs are available, such as the Associate of Science in Medical Coding. Several organizations offer certifications for prospective employees, including the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). Many online diploma programs prepare you to take certification exams.
Online diploma programs in medical coding and billing provide students with knowledge related to payment systems, drugs, and technology involved in healthcare. Students may need an associate's degree or certification for some jobs.