Reviews

Review of Asus USB Portable Monitor

Well, this isn’t specifically about coding, but it’s related. Anyone out there use 2 monitors for coding at home? For starters, in case you’re wondering but are afraid to ask–No this post does not have affiliate links and I don’t “get” anything for writing this. I wanted to write a review on a monitor I bought because I like it, and I think it could be beneficial to a medical coder.

 

Okay, well here is a pic of it.

What I like best about this monitor is that it uses a USB cable and you can move it. Why this is beneficial to me is plain and simple. I can move it upstairs and set it up with my laptop so I can hide from my kids and work. My house is too noisy over the summer and I need privacy and quiet or else I’ll mess up everything and my codes will be wrong. This monitor can be easily moved from one computer to another without 9878789 different wires. It just uses 1- a usb cable. So I can use it upstairs for now, and then once I’m ready to use my office again downstairs, when the kids go back to school, I can easily move it.

It also comes with a small case to put it in if you want to take it out with you and use with a laptop. The color of the screen is nice when it’s hooked up (sorry I don’t have a pic with it on) and overall it is a really good product.

Here is one thing though that is a little confusing. I learned this from reading other reviews on this, so it’s definitely worth mentioning. Trouble is, it is not plug and play. Bear in mind, it comes with a cd to download the drivers onto your computer. However, the disc is either outdated, or just does not work. To get this up and running, you have to download the drivers from display link.  Just choose the operating system your computer uses and download the driver. Once it’s downloaded, you’ll be able to use the options to set up the second monitor and it’s very easy. If you didn’t know to use display link I think you’d be confused though.

Anyway, this is what I use at home when I’m working. I have my main monitor logged into whatever system I’m using at the time, and on this screen I put my coding spreadsheet. It works out great and I really like it.

So there you have it. If any of you are looking for a second monitor this one is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

 

Thanks for reading,

Lindsay

 

Midnight Medical Coding Products You Might Be Interested In:

Learn The 50 Most Common X-Ray CPT Codes-

Self-paced online course. Getting awesome reviews from fellow coders.

 

 

 

 

15 Question Practice Coding Test

Practice coding the ICD-10-CM and CPT codes of HIPAA compliant X-ray reports. Answers and rationales provided.

 

 

 

 

Tabs for the ICD-10-CM Book: Get 60 printed, multi-colored, double-sided tabs. These can be used on any 2019 or 2018 ICD-10-CM book from any publisher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Advice

3 Things Your Medical Coding School Did Not Tell You

Ok, before you even read this post, please keep in mind that this post is not about one specific coding school. There are literally hundreds of medical coding schools out there and some are undoubtedly better than others. This post is just my response to social media threads I see out there where people talk about dropping thousands of dollars on a medical coding course/school and still had no idea they needed to take a certification exam. Had no idea it would be hard to get a coding job. And who also had no idea that working from home shouldn’t just be an expectation. That is only the tip of the ice burg. It saddens me to think that coding schools do not give their students the heads-up about the real coding world. But it also bothers me that some (not all) potential coders do not research and do their homework and look around. It’s important to at least get a feel for the coding world before jumping into it. So, in case your new to the coding world, please read this list below. It might help you decide if coding is really right for you.

 

“School coding” is not the same as coding in real life. Let me explain. When you are in coding school, you are still just learning. You are in the process of forming the foundation for your future. It’s important that you get an overview of all the different areas of coding, and get a basic understanding. So since the goal at this point is learning how everything kind of goes together, everything will be presented to you in a way that’s clear without leaving much room for guesswork. An example would be–if you have an E/M coding question–it tells you right in the question what all the different levels are for each area. You don’t have to fill out the actual audit sheet and get the level yourself. This is okay–you are learning and it’s not expected that you can do this right off the bat. It bothers me though that coding schools don’t seem to let students know that it is not like this in real life. Don’t get me wrong–some doctors are better than others about documentation and sometimes the report is very clear and easy to understand. Other times, well, not so much.

 

The next thing many new coders don’t know is very similar to the last one, but has to do with insurance. Different insurances have different rules. Many coding schools do not even mention the idea of insurances. I can see why they wouldn’t. You are learning how to code and it’s probably best not to complicate things by throwing the idea of insurance and different rules into the mix. Again though, I think it would be beneficial to the student if this is at least mentioned at some point. An example off the top of my head– some insurances still use a modifier 59. Some don’t, and use the different X modifiers. Some even have rules that would sound weird to a coder. An example would be, I remember there was one particular insurance that required a 59 be added to both a 76856 and 76830 on the same claim. The CPT book would say this is a no-no, but that is how this one insurance wanted it. I’m sure there are many more examples out there. The point being though–insurances have rules. It’s not expected you know them right out of the gate, but I wish schools would tell new coders that this is actually a thing. Once you throw federal payers into this (Medicare)–they have rules too. Many insurances follow what Medicare does, but some do not. You will learn all of this on the job, but again, this is something just to be aware of.

 

 

 

Ok, one last thing that new coders may not realize is that working remote is not a guarantee. Many schools try to sell the idea that you can work from home from day 1 and make lots of money all while tending to other things. Sometimes these schools even have a picture of a young mom coding with her baby sitting on her lap. This makes my blood boil. Yes, some people have been fortunate enough to work from home from the beginning. Is it the norm? No. And while taking care of a baby? Definitely no. I feel like they just put pictures like that to sell you on the idea that you can stay home, raise your kids, and work at the same time. And they make it look easy. I won’t go on a tangent too much here, but I heard a saying once and it kind of stayed with me. It said, “Women are expected to work like they don’t have kids, and raise kids, like they don’t have to work.” I know there are million different situations out there, and yes, it is possible to work from home and still have kids. That’s not what this is about. I don’t like how schools set people up with the idea that it’s an expectation and everyone and anyone can do it.

 

Anyway, all I can say is just do your homework before getting into the field. It is a great field to be in, with many different possibilities. I absolutely love it, and I can not even see myself doing anything else. A great way to get an idea for what it is really like is by networking and talking to other coders. They can also share their experiences. It may even lead to a job offer down the line. You can go to local AAPC chapter meetings and join different coding Facebook groups out there to meet other coders.

Midnight Medical Coding Products You Might Be Interested In:

 

Learn The 50 Most Common X-Ray CPT Codes-

Self-paced online course. Getting awesome reviews from fellow coders.

 

 

 

 

15 Question Practice Coding Test

Practice coding the ICD-10-CM and CPT codes of HIPAA compliant X-ray reports. Answers and rationales provided.

 

 

 

 

 

Tabs for the ICD-10-CM Book: Get 60 printed, multi-colored, double-sided tabs. These can be used on any 2019 or 2018 ICD-10-CM book from any publisher.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Uncategorized

The Reality Of Being A Medical Coder Who Works From Home

Not a picture of my desk. It would be nice if it looked this neat though.

Many times, if you’re looking at advertisements for coding schools, you’ll see a picture of a young woman working at a laptop. She looks happy and she may be even holding  a baby on her lap. I’ve also seen other advertisements where there’s a picture of someone coding at the beach. I’m not trying to burst anyone’s bubble here, but that is not an accurate depiction of life as a medical coder working from home. I’ll get back to what it’s actually like later on in this post-but some medical coders do work from home and are very successful at it.

What people don’t realize is there’s a lot more than meets the eye. I think some of the schools out there totally underestimate the importance of working on-site first. So much can be learned from that! Not only will you get to meet other coders in your specialty, but you’ll get to see how the whole process works. There’s a lot more to coding than choosing numbers in a book, and the only place to learn these things is on-site. If you work in a billing office you’ll get to see the whole claim cycle, which is important just to grasp things, and see how coding fits into the whole equation. You may even find a coder to mentor you and show you the ropes, which is invaluable! Networking and building relationships with other people is necessary in this field. So while working from home can be a perk of working in this field down the line, it should not be your goal starting out.

Actual picture of my desk. This is Connor and he is my pet supervisor.

So what is it like working from home? The first thing to keep in mind that there are still rules. You still have to have a HIPAA compliant space to work and need to follow your companies guidelines regarding that. Some companies are more strict than others. Some require you have a separate office with a door that locks, others do not. Some companies provide a computer and others require you use your own. Some companies have set hours you have to work while others do not. You get the idea–it’s not as flexible as it may seem at first.

Believe it or not, it can be tough to keep a schedule when you work from home. If you’re allowed to set your own hours, it is very easy to lose track of time. You may start cleaning or cooking or whatever and next thing you know the day is half over. There are many distractions in the home and it’s easy to get side tracked. The best thing to do to avoid this, is to make a schedule and stick to it.

Friend- “Since you’re home all day, you sleep until noon, right?” Me- “That’s not how it works.”

Another problem that many coders have that work from home is the fact that many people think that since you’re working from home, you do not have a real job. They do not respect your work boundaries and think you are around to help with errands, chores etc. But the fact of the matter is, it is up to YOU to set boundaries with people in your life. If your family and friends think that you’re available to help them with things because you’re home, don’t be afraid to tell them no. Would these same people call you if you were at the office for help with an errand? Probably not.

It’s tough when you’re a new coder. You can do well but it just takes time.

I also think that working from home should be for experienced coders only. If you are a new coder and have a question–there is no one around to ask. Production and accuracy are still expected whether you work in the office or at home, and when you’re first learning, it’s to your advantage to be around others to help you if needed.

Another thing to consider before working from home is your personality. This might sound weird but just think about it for a second. If you’re a person who likes to work alone and is ok with being home most of the day, then working from home can work out for you. But if your are a people-person who truly enjoys being around others–you may not like working from home. It can be very isolating and that fact alone can be upsetting to a very social person.

Not a medical coder.

Last but not least–getting back to that picture I mentioned earlier of someone coding at the beach. Many times when you start working a new job you’ll have to sign a contract or an agreement. Usually there is a clause in there saying that you have to actually work in your house and not somewhere in public. It is a HIPAA issue if someone can see your work/computer screen. You also most likely need a secure internet connection to work and it also may need to be a wired connection. Not to mention, all of the seagulls would be very distracting if you’re trying to work on the beach. All kidding aside, as a mom myself I get that it’s appealing to want to work from home. It’s just that the reality of how it really is, is not depicted accurately by some coding institutions out there, and sets students up with unrealistic expectations about the coding world.
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