Health information specialists (also referred to as medical billers and coders or medical information specialists) are health care professionals who provide behind-the-scenes work and must be knowledgeable about the medical side as well as the technical billing and coding side of the health care environment.
Medical information specialists take the lead in ensuring that health care systems are up-to-date and compliant and in promoting efficiency throughout the health care organization. They manage the quality of patient medical records by verifying their completeness, accuracy, and proper entry into record management systems. Professionals in health information and medical billing and coding roles do not provide direct patient care.
If you are a detail-oriented person who enjoys working with technology and interested in the medical field, Arizona College’s Health Information Specialist (medical billing and coding) program may be a great fit for you!
What Do Medical Billers and Coders Do?
Medical billing and coding specialists are responsible for ensuring patients’ medical records are complete and accurate. To do this, the medical coding specialist often meets with health care providers, including physicians, nurses, and support staff, to clarify diagnoses or obtain additional information for the medical records.
Medical billers and coders organize and manage health information data in electronic software systems. They must follow procedures to ensure health information is correctly secured and accessible only to the specific health professionals authorized to view it. Health information specialists use classification systems for coding and categorizing patient information for insurance company reimbursement, databases, and registries, while also maintaining patients’ medical treatment histories.
If the medical data is not properly, accurately, efficiently, and securely processed, the health care provider may have a difficult time receiving payment and reimbursement from insurance companies for office visits and procedures that have been performed. Since medical information specialists have access to large databases of confidential and personal patient information, they must be extremely responsible and trustworthy.
Medical information specialists’ daily duties may include:
- Receiving patient forms, medical histories, and test results from medical professionals
- Examining data to ensure completeness and accuracy
- Medical coding: translating medical terminology and data into corresponding numerical diagnosis codes (current procedural terminology, or CPT codes)
- Medical billing: generating and/or submitting invoices for health care services rendered
- Organizing and storing medical records, ensuring all data is stored securely and in adherence with governmental regulations.
- Retrieving archived data as needed or as requested by physicians
- Communicating information in a secure and confidential manner
Medical Billing and Coding Jobs
Health information specialists must manage time wisely. Medical facilities are fast-paced work environments. When patient data is organized, secured, and properly maintained in a timely manner, physicians and nurses are well-equipped to efficiently provide patient care.
Medical billing and coding certification is not a requirement for health information specialist jobs in the state of Arizona. However, Arizona College recommends that graduates of our Health Information program pursue certification as a resume enhancement when interviewing for employment.
Health organizations that employ medical information specialists include:
- General practice and specialty doctor’s offices
- Hospitals and clinical settings
- Government agencies
- Nursing homes and residential care facilities
Take the Next Step With Arizona College
Arizona College’s Health Information Specialist training program provides you with the education and experience needed to become a medical biller and coder. If pursuing a career in health information and medical billing and coding appeals to you, complete a request for information form to connect with Arizona College’s admissions team to learn more about our Health Information Specialist diploma program. Contact Arizona College today!