Is Medical Coding Stressful?

April 25, 2022

Medical coding is a super important component of our healthcare system but it often flies under the radar.

This means that not a lot of people are even aware of medical coding, let alone what it is and how it works.

medical coder reviewing paperwork

This can lead to people taking up medical coding responsibilities without knowing what the job is like – including how stressful it can be.

If you are thinking of undertaking a medical coding job but have no idea what it’s like to be one, then this is the place for you.

We are going to go through the role of a medical coder, check the expectations and responsibilities of the role so you can find out if this sounds like the job for you.

What Is Medical Coding?

Medical coding is the process of using standardized codes to help hospitals and healthcare providers streamline their maintenance of files and information of their patients.

It involves translating important medical data into code so it can be documented on medical records and easily passed from facility to facility.

This system is not only used to transfer medical records, but also medical bills, research and analysis of medical health trends.

Basically, it cuts down on hospitals needing to send files of information from one building to another.

If you have an accident in another state, your medical file can easily be accessed by the doctors at the hospital you are currently at through online code instead of waiting for your file to be sent to you from your local hospital at home.

Not only that, all the medical lingo and jargon can be difficult for insurance companies to understand – so they refer to the medical code to work out what they need to bill you for.

Each medical procedure has its own unique code.

This means that you won’t end up being billed for the wrong medical procedures as medical coding is far more accurate and specific than just normal language.

Medical coding is convenient and super easy for hospitals and other medical facilities and insurance companies to access – but is it convenient and easy for medical coders?

What Is A Medical Coder?

Medical coders are the ones who are responsible for translating your medical data into code.

They work with reports from doctors and nurses behind the scenes to make sure that all of your data and information is accurate and up to date.

They do this by translating the reports from doctors and nurses into a specific code that is then saved onto your file.

This file can be accessed by insurance companies so they can understand what they need to add to your medical bill.

Is It Stressful Being A Medical Coder?

young nurse wearing stethoscope

Medical coders are talented technicians who ideally have a great eye for detail because one mistake in the medical code can lead to disasters.

It’s very repetitive work that includes a lot of paperwork.

After all, you will be expected to go through report after report, translating the written words of healthcare professionals into code and making sure that code is connected to the correct patient.

So, some people may find medical coding repetitive and boring rather than exciting and varied work – but that works for some people.

There are a lot of deadlines involved with medical coding because the system needs to be up to date and as efficient as possible.

No one wants to spend months waiting around to find out how much their medical bill is and how much they owe, plus hospitals can miss out on a lot of funds if the medical coders are behind in their work.

So, this need for constant productivity combined with high levels of accuracy and repetitiveness of the job can lead to high levels of stress in some medical coders.

Overall, it all comes down to you.

Some people thrive working under pressure to meet a deadline, others are great at managing their time so they can always complete their work on time.

Some people also love the rhythm that comes with repetitive work and can fly through their coding once they get into it.

Alternatively, some people can get really stressed out when it comes to meeting deadlines and prefer to work at their own pace.

If this sounds like you, then perhaps medical coding is not the career for you.

Where Do Medical Coders Work?

A big factor that can really help take the stress off when working as a medical coder is your place of work.

While some medical coders work within hospitals and health care facilities, others work in different kinds of buildings.

This includes working from the insurance agency side, in educational institutions, and some medical coders even get to work remotely from home!

Where you work and the kind of environment that place is can make a huge difference when it comes to how stressful you find medical coding.

Working in an office-like environment may slow down your progress while others may not have the correct facilities at home to work efficiently.

Others can find working in a busy atmosphere like in a hospital distracting compared to a calm office in an insurance building.

So, it’s important to be aware of how your work environment impacts your stress levels.

If medical coding sounds like a career for you but you are concerned about working in an unhealthy environment, see if there is any way you can change things at work!

Conclusion

So – is being a medical coder a stressful job? Well, it all depends on you and what you find stressful.

Being a medical coder involves a lot of paperwork and deadlines, high productivity expectations and meeting high standards when it comes to accuracy and quality of work.

It’s understandable because there are a lot of high stakes involved – patient data is completely confidential and getting it wrong can lead to someone receiving the wrong treatment or bill.

So, there is a lot of responsibility put on a medical coder’s shoulders – and some people may buckle under that pressure.

However, if you are the kind of person who loves working in such an environment, then medical coding could be the right career for you!

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About the author 

Fred Hopkins

Fred has been connecting medical practices with qualified medical billing and coding professionals since 2016. Helping doctors, of all kinds, streamline patient operations along the way.

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