Staying focused on your studies is never easy. The struggle only gets harder if you have a day job, have a family to look after, or have other demands on your time. Whether you’re learning medical coding or medical billing in a classroom or online, here are three simple tips that can help you stay focused on your studies.
1. Eliminate distractions
If you are attending medical billing school online, the hardest part may be finding a time that you can focus on lectures. When you sit down to your coursework, help yourself focus by going into a room where you can be by yourself. If you have kids, arrange for someone else to watch them, or try to do your work while they are at school, if you can. Once by yourself, silence your phone and put it away. The last thing you need is text messages and Facebook notifications distracting you from your work.
If you’re doing your coursework in a class setting, it’s still important to minimize distractions when you study at home, and when you’re listening to lectures in class. You should put that phone away, too, and block distracting websites while you’re in class so you’re not tempted to let your attention wander.
2. Take notes
One simple way to stay focused while studying is to take notes. If you’re listening to a lecture, write down key points. If you’re reading a text book, make notes in the margins or highlight key passages. This simple task will help you retain the information much better than simply listening or reading.
3. Schedule time for studying
If you’re attending medical coding school in person, it’s easy to let yourself believe that you will study when you have a free moment. But free moments don’t just magically appear. You need to set aside time for yourself to study, the same way you set aside time for class.
If you’re taking the course online, setting aside time is even more important. Plan a schedule for when you will listen to lectures and do coursework. Try to stick to the schedule as best you can. Treat your schedule like a solid commitment, not something you can move around whenever you feel like it. This attitude will help you stay on track.
AHIMA and the AAPC talked to a number of recently certified medical coding professionals about their strategies for passing their certification exams. The organizations gained a lot of great insights from these individuals. Here are some of their top tips for getting your medical coding or medical billing certification:
1. Take your exam as soon as you can.
Many students make the mistake of postponing their certification exam for a few months or more after finishing their medical billing course. This is a big mistake. The closer you can schedule your exam to the end of your course, the more likely you will be to pass. It makes perfect sense — you’ll do best when all of the information is fresh in your mind. Delaying will only cause you to lose confidence and forget some of the finer points of the course.
2. Don’t try to cram.
Some people blow off most of their coursework in favor of a last-minute cram session before the medical coding certification exam. This strategy rarely (if ever) works. The skills needed to become a successful medical coder can’t be learned overnight. Your best strategy is to give your coursework the time and attention that it requires. Stay up-to-date on your assignments, and get help as soon as you come across an area that you find confusing. Take advantage of all the resources available to you through your course.
3. Check your problem areas with practice exams.
Practice exams are an incredibly helpful tool while preparing for the actual test. You won’t see the exact same questions on the actual exam, but practice exams can help you get a feel for the format of the test and the types of questions that you’ll see. Practice tests can also help you identify areas where you need more work and give you a sense of whether or not you’re ready for the actual exam.
4. Create a support system.
It’s much easier to learn when you have other people on your side. Whether you’re interested in medical billing or coding, the programs at Allied Prep can provide you with all of the training and support that you will need to succeed. You can study at home through our online program or in class with other students who share your goals. In either case, you’ll have access to knowledgeable instructors who can help answer your questions and guide your studies.
If current trends remain in place, 2017 looks to be a great year for job seekers. A number of factors are stacking up in favor of people looking for careers this year, especially skilled jobs like medical coding or medical billing jobs.
While many people fear that their job will be taken over by a machine, the vast majority of jobs simply can’t be done by current technology, according to most experts. The jobs that are getting automated are the ones that are repetitive and that require no creativity or judgement. Skilled jobs, therefore, are quite safe from automation.
In fact, the US added an average of 180,000 jobs per month in 2016, which is considered remarkably good. A large number of those jobs are in technology. People who are trained to work with specific machines or in specific computer programs have a significant leg up in the current marketplace. Certifications for technical jobs can also be incredibly helpful. So-called soft skills like creative thinking and marketing skills are valuable, but they need to be backed up by technical know-how in order to land the best jobs this year and in the years to come.
If you’ve been putting it off, 2017 just might be the ideal year to invest in your technical education. A certification in medical billing can open up all sorts of doors across the country. Medical coders and billers are in high demand in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and research facilities. These jobs can be found in every state, and there is room to grow, but you need to be certified in order to meet the basic job qualifications.
At Allied Prep, our 18-week medical billing and medical coding courses will give you all of the preparation you need to pass your certification exams. Once certified, you’ll be able to apply for a wide variety of medical coding jobs with regular business hours, great pay, and benefits.
Whether you’re looking to start a new career, fresh out of school, or trying to get back into the workforce, our medical billing and coding program might be the perfect choice for you. Give us a call at 504-304-8826 or stop by campus today to learn more.
Are you looking to start a new career in medical billing or medical coding? If so, you’re probably wondering what you need to do first. If you do a little research, you’ll find that in order to get a job as medical coding or billing professional, you’ll need to get certified. And, the only way to do that is by passing what is known as the AAPC exam.
Thankfully, there are many programs you can choose from and some are even taught online. However, before you invest any money into a program, we suggest you look for the following:
1. How is the Program Taught?
You’ll want to know is if the program is taught exclusively in a classroom or if you can take it online. Different learning environments can be a good thing as each student is unique. Also, consider who is teaching the program. Is it just an instructor that has general knowledge or an expert in the industry? At Allied Prep, our medical billing program and medical coding program is led by teachers who have years of practical experience in the industry students are studying. This means our students learn from actual professionals who are more than equipped to answer their questions, teach them what they need to know, and impart the knowledge they need to pass their certification exams.
2. How Long has the School Been Around?
You want to work with a school that has a long-standing reputation and that has been around for a long time. This means the school has a structure that students appreciate and is credible. You’ll also want to see what the school’s students have to say. Take a look at the school’s website for testimonials or even ask to speak with the school’s administration.
3. Compare Costs
Whenever you are about to earn a professional certification, there is an investment involved. You’ll want to know exactly how much you’ll be spending. Furthermore, you’ll want to know if the school offers financial aid options which may make your certification more affordable. For example, at Allied Prep, we offer our students a pay as you learn plan so they are not overwhelmed by the expense of their education.
4. What is the School’s Mission?
It’s one thing to help students get certified, it’s another to do everything possible to ensure they are successful. At Allied Prep, we always put our students first and have done so for over 20 years. We want them to leave our school fully prepared so they can enter into exciting new careers with confidence.
Recently, it was announced that the 2017 ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting was released. The newest iteration of the Guidelines can be accessed and downloaded from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ website for those who are interested. According to reports, the latest version has several key changes and the newly established guidelines actually explain what changes have been made to the code set.
It’s important to note that four organizations are responsible for approving the Guidelines before they are released. These organizations are the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS), the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), and the American Hospital Association (AHA).
What are the ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines?
Many people wonder what the Guidelines are. Essentially, the Guidelines are a set of rules that must be followed by healthcare professionals. They were developed to accompany the instructions set forth by the ICD-10-CM. However, the instructions set forth by the ICD-10-CM take precedence over the Guidelines. When diagnosis codes are assigned to patients’ medical records, medical coders must adhere to the Guidelines. This is required and mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All healthcare providers in the U.S. have adopted the diagnosis codes under HIPAA.
Why are the ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines So Important?
Medical billers and coders have a difficult job to do as they must assign the correct diagnosis codes to patients’ records. Failure to do so can have an adverse impact not only on healthcare professionals administering treatment, but also patients. Therefore, healthcare providers and medical coders must work as a team to ensure all documentation is correct. This includes the assignment of codes as well as documentation of procedures, treatments, and diagnosis. The guidelines were specifically created to help medical coders and healthcare providers when they need to identify diagnosis. If these diagnosis codes did not exist, patient documents would not be accurate. Furthermore, other healthcare providers who may need to review a patient’s record would have a difficult time understanding what conditions the patient has been diagnosed with as well as the treatments he/she has received. The codes ensure that all professionals involved have only the most accurate, up-to-date information and protect the patient.
If you have additional questions related to the 2017 ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting, we encourage to visit CDC.gov for more detailed information.