How to Become a Home Based Medical Coder

Home based medical coders are often self employed as independent contractors. This type of work falls somewhere between being an hourly employee and owning your own business.

An independent contractor is an individual who has contracted with a larger organization that provides work to the home based coder for an agreed upon payment. These independent contractors benefit by working from home, having a flexible schedule, and having a steady and reliable income without assuming the large overhead costs and liability that accompany small entrepreneurships.

The contract agreement entered by the home based medical coder and the organization should specify items like:

Number of Chart Provided/Coded

Payment

Accuracy Standards

Hardware and Software Responsibilities

The number of charts a coder can contract for may depend upon their coding specialty, experience, desired income, and time commitment.

Since rates vary by specialty it is important to know the industry standard for your specific specialty and if you fall within that specialty’s average.

The following is a loose projection home based medical coders can use when negotiating a rate in their contract:

Coding Specialist I:

45 inpatient records daily

2 min/chart or 250/day outpatient and ER records

3.5 min/chart or 130/day ambulatory surgery records

Coding Specialist II:

32 inpatient records daily

2 min/chart or 250/day outpatient and ER records

4 min/chart or 120/day ambulatory surgery records

Coder II:

23 inpatient records daily

3 min/chart or 160/day outpatient and ER records

6 min/chart or 80/day ambulatory surgery records

Coder I:

15 inpatient records daily

4 min/chart or 120/day outpatient and ER records

8 min/chart or 60/day ambulatory surgery records

Home based medical coders who choose to be independent contractors will also need to negotiate their rate of pay. Usually this is a flat rate that is agreed upon in the contract. This rate is then paid on a per chart basis.

Rates of pay are strongly influenced by things like geographical location, coding specialty, experience, and current economic variables. A home based medical coder can use the following as a loose guide to help them in their contract negotiations regarding rates of pay.

Professional Coding/Outpatient:.60 -.75 per chart

Facility Coding/Inpatient:.70 -.85 per. chart

Combination Coding/Both In and Outpatient:.90 – 1.50 per. chart

The rate of charts coded and the rate of pay are the two main influences affecting a home based medical coder’s income. It is important to properly calculate the chart commitment and pay rate and balance it with the amount of time needed to perform the task.

For instance, a medical coder who codes out patient charts may contract for 875 charts each week at a rate of.65 cent per chart. If the week’s commitment is divided by the standard rate of 25 chart per hour the medical coder will need to allot for 35 hours of work time each week (875/25=35). If the medical coder is paid.65 per chart then their weekly income will be $568.75 (875 x.65) and their “hourly” average will be $16.25 ($ 568.75 / 35 hrs).

To hold a profitable home based medical coding job speed and accuracy are of upmost importance. Speed will enable the medical coder to increase their pay and decrease their time commitment. It is possible to achieve “full time pay” working only 20 hours a week, but this takes time to achieve and it is important to remember to maintain accuracy as well.

Most organizations that contract with home based medical coders specify in the contract that the coder must maintain a specific accuracy standard. This standard is usually between 94% – 98% accuracy. Charts that are coded and submitted by the independent contractor are periodically audited to ensure they are being coded correctly. This audit is what produced the accuracy percentage. If accuracy is not maintained the organization may terminate the contract.

Benefits and taxes are other items a home based medical coder must consider prior to becoming an independent contractor.

Benefits such as medical, dental, 401K contributions, vacation, and paid time off are usually not provided since you are considered self employed. Contracting organizations usually do allow for their coder’s to take vacations and sick days, however, since these are usually unpaid they should be budgeted for in advance.

Taxes are also different for the independent contractor. The organization that the medical coder contracts with will usually send their payments out similar to a scheduled paycheck. These checks are paid in gross earning though.

It is the responsibility of the home based medical coder to withhold taxes from each check and set the money aside for payment to the government at the end of the year. When the end of the year arrives the organization will send the coder a 10-99 instead of a W-2 and when filing taxes the independent contractor should file a schedule 1040.

A schedule 1040 allows the home based medical coder to itemize and subtract some items such as medical coding books, computers, internet connections, office supplies, etc. as deductions. Keeping track of work related expenses is important and beneficial come tax time.

Items that are provided by the contracting organization may not be counted as a deduction though. What is provided by an organization and what the home based medical coder is responsible for varies from one organization to another.

Some organizations may provide the medical coding books while other organizations hold the medical coder responsible for their purchase. The most common practice among organization regarding independent medical coders though is to provide them with the medical coding software, a firewall, e-mail, and some technical support.

It is usually the responsibility of the home based medical coder to provide an adequate computer system, medical coding books, an internet connection, and day to day work supplies (paper, pens, etc.)

Technical support is usually limited to the organization’s software, firewall, and e-mail. Hardware failures, internet service interruptions, and items of that nature are usually the responsibility of the independent contractor.

Once a medical coder has informed themselves regarding all of the facts and they are prepared for the specific obligations that accompany home based medical coding and independent contracting they are ready to locate an organization that offers such opportunities.

If searching online avoid searching for phrases such as: “work at home medical coding jobs” and try searching for phrases like “remote medical coding jobs” and “independent contractor medical coding jobs”.

Companies like Avia Code, Med Data, and The Coding Network are just a few that hire home based medical coders as well.

Medical Transcription – Tips to Improve Accuracy While Transcribing

Fast and error-free medical transcription service is the need of the hour. Physicians want transcripts in quick turnaround time (TAT). Many specify TAT which could be as be as short as 10 hours for electronic radiology reports. Typing fast to ensure the specified turnaround could result in errors and transcriptionists end up wasting time correcting these errors. Of course, some professionals would argue that correcting errors is easily accomplished with a spellchecker or backspacing on the computer. But think of the time you can save on these non-transcription activities if you can produce error-free transcripts the first time. In fact, accuracy is the key to success and higher productivity in transcription. Here are some important tips to help:

Listen to Whole Sentence before Transcribing it

Even if you have efficient transcribing software or machines, it is not a good practice to listen to a few words, pause the recording and transcribe just these words. Practices like this can result in more errors as you wouldn’t know in which context the word or words are used until the sentence is complete. For example, the abbreviation ‘AF’ is used for Atrial fibrillation, Atrial flutter and Amniotic fluid. It is not possible to understand for which condition this abbreviation is used unless you hear the complete sentence. If you assume a word, you are likely to make a mistake and would have to delete and retype it – a sheer waste of time. Basically while transcribing a Cardiology transcription note you do not want to transcribe a medical term used more commonly for Pediatric transcription.

So proceed (key) slowly and make sure there are no errors so that you don’t have to make any changes. What is the best way to do this? Listen to what the doctor is saying, understand the exact context, pause the playback and type the sentence. This will allow you to catch the right meaning and type correctly. Listening does not mean merely hearing what is said, but understanding each word in the dictation. If you have the ability to understand different accents, this would definitely be a plus point.

Slow Down Typing Speed to Avoid Errors

Keying speed definitely increases the turnaround time of medical transcription. But typos or errors that occur due to fast typing will slow you down as you would have to spend time correcting them later. So you need slow down the typing speed and focus on what you are typing while listening to the dictation. This will help you to avoid errors and omissions. The time saved on correction can be used for more compensable work. However, this does not mean typing words too slowly. Type fast, but make sure that the speed is comfortable for you to recognize mistakes.

Set Auto-Backspace Short

It is true that auto-backspace in the dictation recorders available today is a great help. However, there is a problem with automatic-backspace on playback: it rewinds the tape or dictation whenever you stop and this can be a real waste of time as you would have to listen to a portion of dictation that you already transcribed once again. The solution is to set automatic backspace so that you only hear a single word after you stop.

A professional medical transcription company has trained and experienced medical transcriptionists with excellent language and listening skills who have the knowledge and skill to ensure accurate and timely transcripts. Physicians can certainly expect their productivity to go up when they partner with the right service provider.

Importance of Computers in Medical Sector

Computers have now become an inseparable part of our life. Be it school or colleges or offices or hospitals or home, there is hardly any place where you can’t see a computer. The importance of computers can’t be confided in words. Apart from making our work simpler, easier and faster, computers have actually helped humans in many life threatening situations. And this contribution can’t be put into words.

Especially in the field of medical and hospitals, we have seen so much advancement which was not possible had it not been computers for our help there. In this article we will discuss some major areas in medical sector where computers have helped us humans and made our lives simpler, easier and better.

1. Computerized Robotic Operations: Earlier days, if a patient is sick and needs treatment from the doctor, the doctors from the hospital have to be available in the hospital with that patient all the time. Performing diagnostics, operating a patient and post operation checkups required a doctor to be physically available near the patient. Now it’s not the case. With the advancements of computers, hospitals have introduced cutting edge technologies and treatments methods using which a doctor can perform the diagnosis and checkups thousands of miles away from the patient.

Even operations are performed remotely with the help of robotic arm. The introduction of robotic operations has made lives of so many needy patients easier. If certain services are not available locally, the patient now needs not to travel hundreds of miles to go to a better hospital. The hospital and its services will come directly to him/her. The doctor can perform the remote operation with the help of the robotic arm placed near the patient and checking all the vital body factors on the digital display in front of him/her. It’s literally like doctor is performing the operation in person. The introduction of robotic operations has made the operation and treatment of the needy patients much faster, easier and cheaper at the same time.

2. Computerized Internal Diagnosis: There are often scenarios where the doctor needs to perform the internal diagnosis of the patient to get the clear picture and state of the disease. Certain tumors and cancer may seem neutralized from outside but from inside the situation can be completely opposite and this can’t be found out until unless a proper internal diagnosis of the infected body part is performed. Even performing CT Scans, X-Rays and other scans can’t give a proper state of the disease and can delay the treatment at the same time.

The introduction of computerized internal diagnosis has made the job so much easier, faster and effective. While employing the computerized internal diagnosis, most of the times a computerized tiny robot with a camera head is inserted in the body of the patient. The tiny robot makes its way through the infected part of the body providing real-time images of the internal parts at the same time. The doctors can literally see each and every area of the infected part and then can make justified decision about the criticality of the disease and can perform the treatment accordingly.

3. Computerized Electromagnetic Treatments: There are many minor to moderate internal and external medical problems which are now treated using the electromagnetic technologies with the help of computers. Many skin, hair and eyes related problems are now being resolved using the laser, radio and electromagnetic technologies.

Earlier these situations and many such medical ailments require performing an operation and keeping the patient in hospitals for days. With the introduction of electromagnetic treatments, these problems are being taken care without the operation and the patient need not to be hospitalized either. The patient can simply walk out and perform his/her daily rituals as earlier.

These are some of the very basic areas where computers have found their way to show how important they are in our medical sectors. Everyday new advancements are made in the medical sectors, many incurable diseases are now curable and all this is because of the advancement in the computers and technology sector. With computer’s speed, efficiency and applications increasing every day, many more improvements are expected in near future.

The Importance of Emergency Medical Services

Emergencies many crop up anytime and anywhere. It may be a severe accident or a flight passenger’s sudden heart attack. Such incidents often come up in the newspapers and many similar occurrences lie in obscurity. Whatever be the nature of the emergency it always needs help at hand and as fast as possible. The Emergency Medical Services aims to provide the help a person or many people need while stuck in an unpleasant or unprecedented event. Such services if provided efficiently are greatly valued and those providing the service are held in great respect. The most common cases where immediate medical attention is required are main road or highway mishaps, epileptic convulsions, cardiovascular seizures and major mass scale accidents. Immediate medical help is to be provided to the victim or victims and by trained professionals only favorably paramedics. A basic first aid is to be provided to the patient and it can be done so effectively if a well trained technician is there.

Emergency Medical Services mainly has two distinct divisions. The first one is the care provided to the patient before reaching the hospital or the pre-hospital care given to the patients. This first division chiefly includes first aid and the emergency transport services, most commonly services of the ambulances. Pre-hospital care also includes the transfer of a patient from hospital to another in times of need and for better treatment. Ambulance transport is the most common Emergency Medical Service provided to the patients. Recently, however due to the immense value of time involved in such emergency situations transport by air has also began to save time and get the patient to a hospital as fast as possible since by losing time one can lose his or her life. Emergency medical service transport in air is provided by helicopters. This is an emergency system which took some time to come into action but now is very active throughout the globe.

The second division of the emergency medical service is the medical attention provided to a patient immediately after he or she reaches the hospital. Generally some resident medical officers or trained paramedics are allotted the job of looking after the emergency sector. If the case turns out to be serious senior doctors are called in to tend to the patient. The second division of emergency medical service becomes pointless if the patient has not got to the hospital in time.

Time is the driving factor in case of emergencies and if medical attention is not provided then and there a mishap may turn out to be fatal. So it is necessary for emergency medical services to be active twenty four hours a day. People are aware that quick medical attention from paramedics or trained technicians is available and so help line numbers are in wide circulation. Especially those countries which have a huge population have more need for the Emergency Medical Service. People are the basic foundation of this service, care is provided by a person to a person who needs it. More than a professional job it is like social service with an appeal for humanity. Mistakes happens leading to grave consequences but for the Emergency Medical Services millions of lives around the globe are being saved every day.