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Coders more in demand as Solo Practices embrace technology

April 20, 2012



Extensive use of electronic health records by all types of healthcare providers along with additional records due to increasing population is forecasted to lead to an increased need for technicians. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics compared to the average for all occupations – Employment of medical records and health information technicians is expected to increase the fastest by 21% from 2010 to 2020.

Escalating demand for medical coders

Quick Facts: Medical Records and Health Information Technicians

2010 Median Pay $32,350 per year  & $15.55 per hour
Entry-Level Education Post secondary non-degree award
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2010 179,500
Job Outlook, 2010-20 21% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2010-20 37,700

Source: BLS

A faster than average growth in medical coding job opportunities is also projected by The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to increase by 18% during the year 2016 especially for those medical coders having a good background to be in high demand. Due to greater scrutiny placed on health care services by insurance companies, consumers and their employers and regulatory agencies – has led to an increasing movement by the health care industry and even solo practices towards adoption of electronic medical records – leading to an abundance of medical coding positions for those with good computer skills.

Solo practices adopting EHR’s:

An ongoing study reported that Medical practices consisting of one or two physicians are the fastest growing adopters of EHRs. Recently American Medical News stated that EHR adoption by one-physician practices has increased by more than 6 %, to 36.9 %, since July 2011. It is believed normally larger practices that have led this growth, but this growth is highly significant with almost 55% of 240,281 practices being solo.

Primary reason for this growth has been resources offered by the federal government to help small practices and the meaningful use incentives –Growth rate for EHR adoption in varied types of practices increased from 40.4% to 45.6% in the 6 month period. The percentage breakdown of EHR adoption amongst varied types of practices:

Percent of EHR adoption

Number of physicians at site July 2011 January 2012
One physicians 30.8% 36.9%
Two physicians 41.6% 47.1%
Three to five physicians 51.0% 54.9%
Six to 10 physicians 63.0% 64.9%
11 to 25 physicians 71.6% 74.0%
26 or more 75.5% 77.2%

Source: SK&A

Medical coders need to be tech savvy to take advantage of the capabilities of the EMR and other associated software technology as all healthcare providers begin to adopt EMR systems. As small practices adopt HIT implementation in their practices, they will face various challenges and many of these practices would rather have an expert handle the process than risk their reimbursement.

Medical Coders at this point can widen their scope of work especially those who are proficient with healthcare compliances like HIPAA. Medicalbillersandcoders.com has been serving all 50 states across US in and medical billing consultancy and healthcare management have a thorough understanding of Health Information Technology.

 

Category : Practice Administration