Accurate documentation is a necessity for a financially successful medical practice. The people responsible for interpreting that documentation—medical coders—are oftentimes unsung heroes who are integral members of the healthcare industry revenue cycle management (RCM) team.
After nearly 60 years of hiring and retaining excellent medical coding professionals, we’ve identified five attributes that most of them have in common:
1. They are introverts. Introverts oftentimes get a bad rap! Introverts aren’t shy or antisocial, they are introspective individuals who can still be outgoing. Being an introvert comes with its own set of unique skills that are actually an advantage in some lines of work. Introverts are typically serious, predictable and autonomous thinkers, all excellent attributes for medical coders.
2. They are fast and focused workers. Medical coders absolutely must be detail oriented while maintaining a high level of productivity. Speed and accuracy are key to successful coding. The best medical coders are highly organized, and able to focus for hours at a time.
3. They are voracious readers. People who enjoy reading for pleasure typically have an appetite for knowledge about many things. People who are naturally curious and like to read about many different topics make excellent medical coders.
4. They have an innate interest in healthcare. The human body is arguably the most complex and, to some people, the most fascinating machine. Medical coders are oftentimes interested in biology, anatomy, medicine and medical research, but don’t care for patient interaction or a clinical environment.
5. They are technologically advanced. Medical coders must be adept at mastering multiple electronic medical record (EMR) systems, as well as spreadsheets, databases and other software. This technology is continuously evolving, and medical coders must have the skills and aptitude to keep pace.
Like many other healthcare professions, the employment of medical coders is expected to grow faster than average. In fact, this career is expected to grow by 13 percent through 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By comparison, all other U.S. occupations are expected to grow by 7 percent over that same time period. If you’re looking for productive medical coders and you find candidates who possess all of the attributes mentioned above, hire them!