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Business Startup Ideas – Start a Medical Coding/Transcription Business
No doubt you are reading this because you want to work from home and are looking for some ideas for starting a business. You may want to escape the city of prairie dogs, homeschool your kids, or finally do something on your own. Whatever the reason, you can start and grow your medical programmer or transcription business by leveraging your past work experience and high level of motivation and professionalism. There are many people who can empower and enable you.
Medical coding: When you go to the doctor for medical help, your diagnosis along with the clinical procedure used to treat your disease or condition is given a code. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) sets standards for the classification systems that healthcare professionals must use. Under HIPAA, certain codes must be used to identify specific diagnoses and clinical procedures on claims, meeting forms, and other electronic transactions. This is where the medical coder comes into play. These professionals are responsible for translating healthcare professionals’ diagnostic and procedural sentences into coded form. They do this by reviewing and analyzing medical records to identify relevant diagnoses and procedures so that the appropriate code can be applied.
The codes are published by the US government as a multivolume set. These codes are continuously updated as new diseases are discovered and identified and new technologies emerge. Coding is performed through a review of each patient’s medical record. The encoder transforms documented medical descriptions of a patient’s diagnosis and procedures into numeric codes. Accurate and timely coding does a number of things:
1) provides useful information in disease management and improvement of health care quality,
2) provides data to ensure that the appropriate services are performed,
3) ensure that the health facility is promptly and adequately reimbursed e
4) provides diagnosis and procedure information to people who pay for services.
While certification in medical coding is voluntary in the United States, most medical professionals do everything possible to minimize risk. Coding is a key element in the billing function and compliance with regulatory and other requirements. Therefore, some clients may specifically request documented proof of your experience, qualifications, skills, and certifications. Remember, coding has to be done right the first time. The doctor has to pay for each code on the bill. Insurance companies will usually pay claims in a timely manner when the correct codes are used. The doctor has to pay again for each wrong code. Therefore accuracy is vital.
You can add to what you lack in coding experience by showcasing your work experience, high level of professionalism and motivation, your passion for excellence, and your dedication to continuous learning. Remember that you are contracting for services as an independent contractor. You may be able to negotiate with a vendor to have the work done in their office, gain their trust, and then later move the work to your home.
If you are new to coding and are not yet comfortable pursuing this line of work, you might want to look into medical transcription as a way to gain some background and experience
Medical transcription: The core of performing medical transcription work is listening and writing. You will also see this important job referred to as a health record specialist. You are in effect a medical speech specialist who interprets and transcribes the dictation of medical professionals. You are a trusted professional who accurately and confidentially captures patient care information by converting voice-recorded reports into plain text. You are entrusted with private and personal information to ensure that the information captured is an accurate record of what is being dictated. Performing this job requires the ability to interpret dictation correctly and protect patient records. You must have the personal skills necessary to work directly with physicians, surgeons and other healthcare professionals and specialists. It is not necessary to have a certification for this line of work. However, you’ll have more credibility and likely make more money if you do.
You will need to learn the voice of the person you are transcribing; it may take some time. You will be expected to understand and accurately transcribe medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, diagnostic procedures, pharmacology and therapeutic evaluations. Dictation can range from ten seconds to ten minutes. Your task is to convert this dictation into a text file as soon as possible. Then you format the reports; edit them for translation, punctuation or grammar errors; and check for consistency and any wording that does not make medical sense.
So how do you set a reasonable expectation? Let’s say your client (doctor) sees a patient every 15 minutes and works ten hours a day. Let’s also assume that the deadline for submitting transcripts is 24 hours. That’s forty transcripts due in 24 hours. Procrastination is not a trait that works well in this profession. The point here is to negotiate a turnaround time that makes you successful and your customer happy. If you’re not very fast at transcribing, you could start by quoting a per-page rate. This also gives your client tangible control over the amount of work you’ve completed. Find out what a nominal delivery time is. If 24 hours have passed, comply with this requirement. You may be able to bring in a few more clients and still keep your commitments. Be sure to factor in interruptions to get the kids to school, their doctor, and occasional emergencies. Calm down and set reasonable expectations for yourself and your client. Remind them that you are just a phone call or email away.
If you have little or no experience as a medical transcriptionist, you may want to get a part-time job and build your skills and credibility. In the meantime, you can take some time to train at home and get certified.
If you are an experienced medical transcriptionist, put your business card and brochure in the hands of healthcare professionals. Request a trial run and at least one referral.
Bottom line: You’ll never know if you don’t try.
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