Entry-level medical coders need more than memorized ICD-10 codes
Because there is more to medical coding than memorizing ICD-10 codes, hospitals need to help coders — especially entry-level coders — further their expertise.
Kelly Gooch of Becker's Hospital Review talks to Julia Hammerman, director of compliance and education at St. Louis-based himagine solutions, and Terri Eichelmann, director of health information management at St. Louis-based BJC HealthCare, for a sense of how hospitals can help medical coders build upon their skills.
In addition to knowing the ICD-10-CM/PCS codes, medical coders need to develop understanding of:
- Coding guidelines
- Coding processes
- How EHRs work
- Clinical documentation processes
When hospitals hire medical coders, they need to discuss the career opportunities available and the medical coders' ambition. The hospitals also need to invest in coder training and professional development.
That requires monitoring new medical coders through mentorship and auditing. The mentors will be available to answer questions.
The auditing process is part of the training process to assess how well medical coders are mastering ICD-10 coding.
It is also recommended to organize the coder training by department. Once the coder masters that module, they can move on to the next training level.
This mastering process can take up to a year. At all phases, the hospital should be soliciting feedback from the medical coders to assess the training process.