How to Teach a Medical Coding Class

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Medical coding professionals ensure that medical facilities receive proper credit and compensation for completed tasks. Since the role of a medical coder is so important, their training must be comprehensive and effective. Teaching a medical coding class requires patience and attention to detail to ensure the next generation of medical coders is equipped for the job.

  • Refresh yourself. Medical coding practices and classifications are regularly updated to reflect the trends of modern health care. For example, a medical code representing a disease state may change to a different code classification following agency examination. Keep yourself informed of the latest changes to ensure the information you teach is the most current available. Sign up for updates from the World Health Organization (WHO) to maintain your knowledge.

  • Stay in your lane. Stay on task by creating lesson plans that strictly address the course syllabus. The world of medical coding is vast and includes both procedural and diagnostic coding information. Many medical coding classes are broken into sections that offer specific areas of focus such as hospital coding. Keep the aim of the class in mind to give the students the information they need.

  • Instill disciplined retrieval methods. Teach students to use a structured system of locating the proper codes. This includes showing them proper desk and reference material organization. Many coding errors can be prevented by maintaining an uncluttered workspace. Help the students understand that their workspace should be neat and equipped with the latest medical coding tools such as books and software.

  • Focus on anatomy and terminology. Quiz the students on their knowledge of medical terminology and anatomy on a regular basis. A solid foundation in these areas is needed to accurately code various medical and insurance forms. Much of a medical coder’s time may be spent interpreting patient reports and diagnostic information to determine proper coding assignments.

  • Provide practice opportunities. Introduce the students to coding assignments slowly to let them practice interpreting information and retrieving codes. Shadow the students to ensure their retrieval methods are up to par. Grade the students work to provide feedback on their skills. As the class progresses, the coding practice should increase in scope and intensity. This will give the students the best chance at real-world success.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always use the latest coding software and classification indexes.
  • Ensure your students are aware that codes can change over time. Encourage them to note deadlines and update their reference materials prior to mandatory changes.
  • Avoid skimming over medical terminology and anatomy. These areas are especially important in medical coding.
  • Photo Credit Ana Labate
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