Category: Medical Coding

Medical Coding

Medical coding specialists are a vital part of the functioning of any medical facility, including everything from hospitals and out-patient centers to an individual doctor’s practice. Medical coders are responsible for reviewing patient medical records and assigning standardized codes to diagnoses and medical procedures performed so the facility can bill insurance companies and other third-party payers (such as Medicare or Medicaid). The alphanumeric codes streamline the billing and insurance reimbursement process and help healthcare providers get paid in a timely manner. They also make a patient’s electronic health record easier to read from provider to provider. In addition, medical codes can be used for overall statistical analysis of public health threats such as contagious diseases and tobacco use.

This career requires a knowledge of biology, anatomy, physiology and medical terminology, in addition to the coding systems. Though not required by law, nearly all employers will also require certification from either AHIMA or AAPC, the two professional organizations that administer exams for certification; with the majority of employers not even willing to look at the resume of an applicant without a certification. This is because coding is a lot more than data entry. Coders need to interpret doctor’s notes on a patient’s medical record and determine the correct codes for each procedure as well as medical equipment used during the visit. Potential coders will not have the proficiency to pass the certification exams without first completing an education program that offers a robust practicum in coding actual medical records.

Medical coders usually work in a variety of health care settings, such as a doctor’s office, hospital or nursing home. They are also employed by insurance companies or Health Information Management companies. There are opportunities for medical coders to work from home, but these positions usually require several years of experience. Although the Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects faster than average growth for this field in the coming decade, medical coding can still be a difficult field to break into without experience. For students interested in completing their certification studies online, it can be helpful to choose an established educational program likeĀ Career Step. This company has been training career professionals for over 20 years and has relationships with nationwide healthcare staffing companies to help graduates find employment right after receiving their certification.

Top Coding Certification Study Guides

If you’re all finished with your Medical Coding course, but still nervous about taking your certification exam, check out these study guides. Most not only include more practice questions, but also test taking strategies specific to each exam to help you maximize your score and pass the test the first time.

Here four top-rated study guides for the CCS exam and where to find them:

The 2017 Clinical Coding Workout is completely updated for 2017 and features over 1500 coding scenarios and exercises to help you develop the expertise needed to pass the CCS or CCS-P exam. This study guide includes questions for the following code sets: ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, CPT and HCPCS.


The Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) Exam Preparation by Jennifer Garvin provides an in-depth review for the CCS exam. Through case studies as well as access to online assessments and 2 complete practice exams, this book prepares you to take the CCS with confidence.


This ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS Coding Handbook is the only guide published in collaboration with the Central Office on ICD-10-CM/PCS (formerly, Central Office on ICD-9-CM) of the American Hospital Association. The handbook contains more than 200 updated in-chapter exercises, case examples, and final review questions. The case-summary exercises are based on actual health records.


The Professional Review Guide for the CCS Examination 2017 for the CCS gives you practice interpreting documentation and applying your knowledge by assigning codes to diagnoses and procedures for a variety of patient settings. It comes with mock examinations that are not the same structure as the actual CCS exam but it is still a valuable study tool.

Here are three top-rated CPC study guides and where to find them:

The CPC Practice Exam 2017 is updated for 2017. This 150 question exam is designed to mirror the AAPC CPC exam. It has the same basic structure and category divisions. Each answer includes a detailed rationale for further help with your studying.


The Medical Coding CPC Practice Exam Bundle – 2017 Edition includes a great section full of advice and test-taking strategies. In addition to a 150 question practice exam, this book includes a review of medical terminology and anatomy.


The official AAPC CP study guide has a 20 chapter review of everything from medical terminology to ICD-10 coding. It covers all sections found on the CPC exam and includes a 200 question practice exam.