Medical billing and coding is the process of using medical codes to record and bill medical diagnoses and procedures. Medical coding systems help remove ambiguity from medical recordkeeping and make it easier to store and protect patients’ medical records. There are three areas of focus in medical billing and coding programs: transcription, billing, and coding. Medical transcription is the process of typing voice-recorded notes and records of physicians and other health care professionals. Medical billing deals with the processes for filing for payment with Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance providers. Medical coding involves converting diagnoses and procedures into industry standard codes. For example, a fracture of both bones in a patient’s lower arm would be coded, under the ICD-9 coding system, as “823.2,” with other codes for how the injury came about.
Online study is a good option for students interested in a career in medical billing and coding. Online courses are available in medical billing, transcription, and coding using various systems such as ICD-9, ICD-10, and HCPCS. Online courses will help you answer questions such as:
There are several organizations that accredit medical billing and coding programs and provide certification exams including the American Health Information Management (AHIMA) and the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC). Earning certification through these exams is the main qualification for starting your medical billing and coding career. You should attend an accredited medical and billing program to ensure you will learn what you need to know to pass these exams. Additionally, most jobs require an education from an accredited program.
Below you will find a directory of open courseware you can use to prepare for a program in medical billing and coding. These materials are prepared by top schools and are available for free. While they don’t provide actual course credit, they can help you build a solid foundation and “test drive” the medical billing and coding profession before you make the investment.