Six factors that remote coders need to consider
The demand for ICD-10 coders has created a lot of opportunity for medical coders. Remote coding is such an opportunity. It offers flexibility for someone who enjoys the autonomy and independence.
But it's not a slam dunk for everyone. There are six factors worth considering before setting up a medical coding office at home:
- Remoteness creates barriers: Quite simply it's harder to communicate with peers in other offices. It's not insurmountable. But there needs to be a higher level of organization and dedication to communication to make sure work flows smoothly. Also keep in mind that it's going to be harder to query physicians for more detail from a remote location.
- Your home office needs to be very secure: HIPAA is very strict about how patient information is handled. You become responsible for compliance. Even without federal law, you have an obligation to protect patient information. This means only you have access to the records you will work on. Think about how you want your medical information to be handled.
- Working in isolation: Working without coworkers can create a very productive environment because there are fewer distractions. (Unless you have a very active home with children for example.) But the lack of interaction may make you feel isolated in a not so good way. Some people need the interaction found in a workplace.
- Productivity counts: Because a healthcare provider will have less direct supervision, it will want quantifiable results from you. Be prepared to track how many medical records and claims you can process.
- Flexibility equals opportunity: This will favor freelancers. Healthcare providers' needs may not be best served by hiring full-time employees. But maybe a few hours here and there are needed to keep cash flow healthy.
- You can work from anywhere: That is an advantage and disadvantage. While working from the beach sounds like a selling point, it sucks to have to take your laptop on vacation. This mainly pertains to freelancers. You need to have backups in case you need to take time off for vacation, family emergencies or sickness.
Working remotely is generally a pretty good arrangement that can work for medical coders with strong organization and communication skills.