Medical Data Entry Training Programs and Courses
Medical coders, also known as medical billing specialists, are healthcare professionals who specialize in recording patient data and medical procedures for insurance and billing purposes. Most are trained through 2-year associate's degree programs that teach them the specific skills needed to quickly and efficiently compile medical data into appropriate documents.
Students enrolled in a degree program related to medical data entry must learn the various codes, medical terms and abbreviations that apply to procedures and diagnoses. Those codes are used by insurance companies to make payments for ill and injured patients. Students also get an overview of the various types of employers that require data entry skills, including hospitals, doctor's offices, insurance companies and nursing homes. During the program, students should build a strong sense of professional standards and communication in order to better interact with medical personnel and patients. Online classes are sometimes available.
- Program Levels in Medical Data Entry: Associate's degrees
- Prerequisites: High school diploma, keyboarding and computer usage skills
- Online Availability: Offered in addition to on-campus classes
- Program Length: Two years
Associate's Degree Programs in Medical Data Entry
Courses focus on the practicalities of the profession while also preparing students to work in one or more healthcare environments. Ethical standards are also emphasized since maintaining confidentiality and accuracy are essential goals of the medical field. Some examples of common courses are:
- Healthcare environments
- Medical terminology
- Coding systems
- Reimbursement methods
- Medical records
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Medical records and health information technicians held down almost 190,000 positions in the field in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The majority of professionals worked for surgical and general hospitals, but the top-paying employer is the professional, scientific and technical services industry. As of May 2015, the mean annual wage for these professionals was $40,430. The BLS projected job growth of 15%, much faster than the average for all occupations, for medical records and health information technicians from 2014 to 2024.
It is common for medical coders and other health information technicians to earn certification or credentials. The American Health Information Management Association allows professionals to become Registered Health Information Technicians once they earn an associate's degree and pass a credentialing examination. The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the Board of Medical Specialty Coding (BMSC) also offer certification in the field.