Medical coding employment is predicted to increase about 21% (much faster than average) over the next 10 years, according to the US Labor Bureau. This is due to several factors, such as:
- Recent advancements in technology
- Greater public health awareness
- Increased life expectancy
These factors are bringing about a number of results – for example, advancements in technology are allowing more procedures to be available to the public, greater health awareness is causing more people to seek treatment for their health concerns, and a greater life expectancy results in a larger population of elderly, which rely on medical procedures more than other age groups.
Because of this growth, job prospects in medical billing and coding are expected to continue to remain high. Certified technicians with strong experience will be in particularly high demand as government and insurance examination of health records continues to intensify. Additionally, employers prefer technicians trained in electronic records.
Coding professionals who specialize in cancer registry will also see an increase in employment. Cancer and tumor registrars maintain databases of cancer patients, assign codes for the diagnosis and treatment of cancers and tumors and follow up with patients each year to track their progress, treatment and recovery. This information is then used to calculate survival rates, the success of different treatments, the identification of potential clinical drug trial participants and observe areas with unusually high occurrences of certain cancers. Cancer registrars are expected to experience job growth, as the aging of the American populations may increase the instances of cancer.
Medical Coding Employment
Medical coding professionals held about 179,500 jobs in 2012, according to the US Labor Bureau.
About 40% of medical billing and coding professionals worked in hospitals, while most of the rest were employed by physicians, nursing care centers, outpatient centers and home health care services. A small number of coding professionals were employed by insurance companies and public health departments to assist in research and analysis.
Technicians who wish to advance have several avenues available to them. Technicians can become a section supervisor and oversee coding, correspondence and discharge work, or in some cases may advance to become director or assistant director of a medical records department. In larger health care facilities, the director tends to have a bachelor’s degree in medical records and health information administration.
Figures courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment & Wages database.