It's not secret that the medical coding world is always changing. Every year there are new codes and new guidelines. You have to buy new books and read through the new codes and make sure you understand them. But there is more to it than that. You have to continue on with your own professional growth and development in your own specialty and maybe even learn about new specialties. So how on Earth do you do all this on top of everything else going on in your life? Here is a list of 4 ways to help you keep up with the ever changing medical coding world.
- Read medical coding publications. I'm sure many of you read AAPC's magazine to get the 1 CEU credit. But it is a good idea to read this magazine anyway. There's lots of good articles here that will keep you up to date. Not just coding but overall changes/trends in the industry so you're not left in the dark.
- Go to AAPC meetings. I know I'm talking a lot about AAPC here, but that is because it is what I'm familiar with. Every month there are local chapter meetings, and if you go you will get to network with other coders and also earn CEU's. I hate to say this, but it took me years to go to meetings because I just couldn't do it. My kids were young and I just couldn't swing it. However, at the time I did sign up to be on their email list. So I kept up that way for a while until I could finally make the meetings. I'm not sure if AHIMA does something similar. If you are certified through them, definitely look into it and see what they have to offer.
- Network with other coders. If you can't get to AAPC meetings, another way to network with coders is online. If you're part of Facebook medical coding groups, you will have the opportunity to just talk to other coders and see what's going on in the coding world in general. Make a long story short, some of the best coders I know, I have not met in real life. But I've known them through Facebook for years and I consider them not only peers, but good friends.
- Always look for ways to expand your own knowledge. This could be hard to do, but one of the ways you can stay up to date with the coding world is to keep an eye on other specialties that you're not currently coding. For example, even if you're not an E/M coder, big changes are coming in the next few years. It helps to keep up with these things just so your knowledge overall stays relevant, and you know what you're talking about. Here's another idea too. Get books and read up on different specialties if it's something you're interested in and just want to learn it. For example, even though I only audit diagnostic radiology, I've been spending time reading up on interventional radiology. It takes a long time to learn and I'm no where near ready to code it in real life. But it's something I'm interested in and might want to do someday, so I figure, why not.
Anyone else have any other suggestions? What do you do to stay up to date in the coding world?
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