Employment in Medical Coding: Industry Trends

Several studies conducted through different organizations and facilities are forecasting a productivity drop with the implementation of ICD-10.  The new code set is more detailed and will take coders a bit longer to look up codes as we begin to familiarize, get comfortable with, and eventually master the new code set!  Proactive employers are increasing the number of their employees to absorb the anticipated drop in productivity. This is good news for coders who are now entering the industry because more opportunities are opening up and everyone is new to ICD-10 so the playing field is being somewhat leveled.
Education is often the key to helping current and future coders prepare for the I-10 implementation. However, even with education, entry-level medical coders often struggle with obtaining their first position because many companies require 2-3 years experience. So, how do you get past that barrier and gain the needed experience?

A recent article published in the AHIMA library discusses the ever popular topic of employment in the medical coding industry, especially as we approach and prepare for ICD-10 implementation.  In the article, A Foot in the Door, Dover discusses how the Baptist Health System developed and implemented a post-graduate apprenticeship program.  This provided an opportunity for graduates to transition from student to employee as they gain more experience and the employer trains employees for their specific future needs.

As you’re working toward employment, please work with our graduate support services at Career Step for more support on getting your foot in the door as well as more information on our new relationship with IOD Incorporated, an employer who offers a similar program through a remote system. Your Career Step training also includes an extensive practicum section that provides students hands-on experience developing coding skills, which is similar to an internship.

You should also check with your local healthcare institution to see if there are or will be similar apprentice opportunities in your local area.  Other opportunities may include internships, part-time positions in a health information management department, professional networking, volunteering, etc. 

Become a member of AHIMA to read the full article, which includes details of how Baptist Health system found success with their internship program.

Dover, Kayce; Phillips, Chloe. “A Foot in the Door: How Post-Graduate Apprenticeship Programs Can Help Organizations Prepare for ICD-10.” Journal of AHIMA 86, no.1 (January 2015): 38-41.

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