When planning to fill a medical coder position, it’s a good idea to understand the little details associated with the role. The medical coder is a very familiar job for practices that have been operating for quite a while now, but there’s more to it than encoding data into a computer or EMR software.
To maximize the job role, practice managers and decision-makers need to acquaint themselves with the different types of medical coders, specifically in-person and virtual medical coders. Both types serve the same purpose of translating medical information regarding procedures and diagnoses for billing and reimbursement purposes. Still, they come with differences that make each a better fit for a specific practice.
So what are their differences?
In-person or virtual medical coders?
The primary difference between an in-person and a virtual medical coder is their physical presence in a healthcare facility. As the job title suggests, in-person medical coders work in the practice location, giving them more direct interaction with the practice staff and the providers. On the other hand, virtual medical coders work remotely, making them more flexible because they can work anywhere that works for them.
When managing either of them, it’s easy to prefer in-person medical coders because of their work setup – practice managers and decision-makers can see them clocking in, fulfilling their duties, engaging with other team members, and clocking out. However, the remote nature of virtual medical coders shouldn’t break the odds for practice managers or decision-makers to opt for them because they come with advantages worth investing time in.
In-office medical coders’ salary is between $45,800 and $61,916 annually . That means practices must dedicate more or less $4,000 monthly to integrate in-office medical coders into the rest of their staff members. On top of that, practices also need to provide employee benefits , which is an added expense. In contrast, hiring a virtual medical coder is more cost-effective because they cost only up to 70% less than what practices need to pay their in-office counterpart for the same service.
As far as payment processing goes, both types also have their differences. Because in-person medical coders work directly with the practice, practice managers or decision-makers must perform the payroll themselves. They can choose to recruit yet another team member to handle payroll, but that is yet another expense that can easily be avoided by opting for a virtual medical coder instead.
In most cases, virtual medical coders work with a virtual assistant company with a dedicated team responsible for handling payroll. Because of this, practices can focus more on taking care of practice-related tasks because someone is performing payroll on their behalf.
Similarly, virtual medical coders often have a dedicated industry manager who supervises them daily, evaluates their performance, and coaches them to be a better fit for the practice. Having an industry manager means practice managers and decision-makers have enough leeway to be more passive about managing virtual medical coders, unlike in-person medical coders, who practice managers or decision-makers have no choice but to manage actively.
As remote workers, being independent is one of the many traits that virtual medical coders have, and this bleeds into multiple areas, including their primary resources. They are responsible for providing their PC or laptop and workspace, minimizing the need for practices to invest money into acquiring and maintaining these types of assets. Furthermore, virtual medical coders are used to learning quickly and efficiently, lessening the time and effort practices must dedicate during their onboarding phase.
By integrating a virtual medical coder into the rest of their staff members, practices become more productive without spending a lot of money, time, and effort.
Medical coder job description
To understand the role better, practice managers and decision-makers need to ask the question of what does a medical coder do?
A medical coder is responsible for assigning codes to medical diagnoses, procedures, and patient services. These codes are mainly for billing purposes but can also be used to communicate medical information between healthcare providers, insurance companies, and even government agencies.
Medical coders work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and practices. Regardless of location, they play a critical role in the healthcare industry. They help ensure that the medical records they code are accurate and that healthcare providers receive the appropriate reimbursement for their services.
Qualities of a good medical coder
Another question that practice managers or decision-makers need to ask is how to become a medical coder because the answer to this question is what it takes to be one – requirements, skills, and work ethics.
Starting with the basics, candidates hoping to fill medical coder positions must have medical experience or a degree in any medical field. Starting a new job will always come with a learning curve, but finding a candidate familiar with the medical field will make the curve easier to conquer. A medical-related degree or experience will also ensure the candidate is familiar with healthcare terms and processes.
In terms of skills, a good medical coder has excellent attention to detail because they must be meticulous to ensure that codes are assigned correctly. They also need to be able to analyze medical records and other documentation because they will determine the appropriate codes to give. Most importantly, an excellent medical coder must be an effective communicator to collaborate efficiently with the rest of the team.
Where to post and find medical receptionist jobs
Regardless of whether practices go with an in-person or virtual medical coder, they have a couple of options where they can find and source people who can fill in the job role. These options include:
Online Job Sites
Many job seekers nowadays search the internet for their next employer. Likewise, medical practices often use job sites like LinkedIn to explore and identify potential candidates for medical coder positions. LinkedIn gives practices the freedom to determine the course of action of their recruitment efforts, such as how many interview phases there will be, what screening measures to implement, and others.
The thing about LinkedIn is that it can show candidates who can either work within the practice or remotely. For a candidate search more specific to virtual talent, Fiverr and UpWork are great options where practices can put up open positions and freelancers can send in custom offers.
Regarding advantages, online job sites offer much flexibility to practices because there aren’t many restrictions on what recruitment efforts can be in place. However, the disadvantage is that all the recruitment efforts must be made by none other than the practice itself, from filtering through hundreds of applications to generating legally-binding contracts.
Virtual Assistant Companies
With an exclusive focus on remote talent, virtual assistant companies outsource virtual talent who can fill various job roles in medical practices – including medical coders. The great thing about tapping virtual assistant companies’ services is that practices don’t have to go through the usual recruitment efforts.
Virtual assistant companies have a distinct advantage over online job sites as they find the most qualified talent, prepare contracts, provide comprehensive training, manage payroll, and more. Tapping their services means that medical practices no longer have to invest a lot of time and effort in recruitment activities because virtual assistant companies take care of almost everything – the only task that remains for practices is to meet the pre-screened and vetted candidates to ensure a perfect match.
Although we receive thousands of applications at My Mountain Mover, we utilize a meticulous vetting process to narrow the candidate pool to the top 2% of virtual assistants who embody our company’s quality and care. If you want to learn more about our services, we invite you to book a 10-minute discovery call with us!