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By Satya Gopal Kalluri – Vice President – Technical Training, Quality & Operational Excellence -Omega Healthcare Management Services Pvt. Ltd
Every year, a large cluster of science students graduate with an ambition to become a doctor/nurse/medical professional. While only a few get to achieve their goal, many life science graduates are unable to make a decision on the alternate career option. Though students these days are aware and tech savvy to explore new career options in their domain, they need special guidance from experts to excel. Medical coding is a booming career option for such students,with huge scope for those who would like to be part of the healthcare IT industry.
India – A hub for healthcare outsourcing services
The healthcare industry is undergoing dynamic changes, paving the way for more jobs in the sector. There is a mounting pressure on healthcare providers to provide quality care and the best patient experience while optimizing costs and other resources too. This is driving the growth for outsourcing routine tasks with revenue cycle management (RCM) being one of the most commonly outsourced processes. The adoption of advanced technologies in the healthcare industry is also boosting this growth. With medical coding being one of the key steps in the RCM process, medical coders are one of the key facilitators of this service and the demand for their niche skills can only be seen growing.
India is the world’s favored market for BPO companies among other competitors, such as, Australia, China, Philippines and Ireland. The BPO boom in India is due to the lower labor costs and India’s huge talent pool of skilled, English-speaking professionals. A study by National Association of Software Services and Companies (NASSCOM) has revealed that quality orientation among leading BPO companies, the availability of 24/7 services, India’s unique geographic location and the investor friendly tax structure in India have all made the BPO industry in India very popular.
India has now become the hub for healthcare outsourcing services like medical coding, medical billing, medical transcription and claims adjudication to other countries. A huge amount of back end work is outsourced to India, which in turn improves the efficiency of healthcare providers and the insurance providers for other countries.
What is medical coding?
Medical coding is a prerequisite for medical billing, filing and claiming medical insurance.
It primarily focuses on converting each and every document tracing diagnosis, medical service, and equipment into universally acceptable codes. A medical coder, extracts the information from patients’ medical records and converts them to an industry-standard medical code, which are used to process claims with third party players.These codes can also assist the government in maintaining a database of health records from which the policy makers, while drafting healthcare policies, can retrieve statistical data.
Since life science graduate students have studied medical science, they are the perfect choice for the role of a medical coder.
Skills required to be a medical coder
- Attention to detail:A medical coder should have a good eye for detail while processing and coding medical documents. If a wrong alphanumeric code is assigned for a surgical procedure, it can lead to a significant problem for the patient and the doctor.
- Medical coders should be proficient at technical skills where they can quickly learn new software from Microsoft Excel to Master Patient Index (MPI). Computer-savvy coders stand out for ensuring Electronic Health Records(EHRs) produce the most precise patient data.
- A strong analytical skill is highly essential, since medical coding rules are complex and can be cryptic at times. The coders should be able to decipher the details in a patient’s record and apply the appropriate codes.
Certification course in medical coding
Medical coding is a good career option for every job aspirant. While life sciences students are preferred for the job, non-life science students can also become a medical coder through certification. A certification in medical coding trains a candidate on various skill sets required to become a qualified coder. Omega Healthcare, through its medical coding training academy Omega Medical Coding Academy (OMCA) trains students in medical coding with the mission to deliver high-caliber medical coders to the healthcare BPO industry. It is a platform where the candidates are equipped with the necessary knowledge and training required by a medical coder. The academy also helps them find job opportunities and most of them are hired by Omega Healthcare.
The academy follows industry standard training sessions with hands-on experience on real time scenarios. The sessions are conducted by AAPC (American Association of Professional Coders) certified trainers who have in-depth knowledge and experience in the industry. The OMCA certification and training equips fresh graduates with all the necessary skill sets, including soft skills, which makes them industry ready. At present, OMCA has centers across Bengaluru, Chennai and Trichy, with over 2,000 coders trained and placed.
The need for medical coders will only rise with the increasing demand for quality economical healthcare services. With its fixed hours, job security and reasonable pay, it has earned the status of being a respected lucrative career choice. The scope for medical coding is increasing exponentially in India.