Successful onboarding tips for a new medical coder

Aug. 31, 2022 / By Robert Franco, CCS

The moment you waited for is finally here: You have been hired as a medical coder! You might be having moments of pure joy mixed with some anxiety. It is great that you now have a position in your field, but with this opportunity comes new requirements: productivity and quality standards, to name a few. This can be overwhelming at times, but I want you to know you are not alone. All of us went through this at one point in our careers. Here are some helpful tips on how to be successful in your new role and build a rewarding career within health information management (HIM):   

  1. Fill out all necessary human resources paperwork as soon as possible. You do not want a technicality to derail your position.

  2. Have an open mind. Whether you are new to the company, new to being a coder or both, there is always something to learn. You are bound to make mistakes, so allow yourself to grow from these and move forward.

  3. Most people you encounter are trying to do their work successfully. By allowing yourself to learn and grow from interactions, you add value to yourself and the team.

  4. Network as best you can, within the company and outside.   
    1. Inside the company, volunteer for cross-departmental teams or activities. When you learn from others how your role impacts the organization, you get a better sense of your duties.   
    2. Outside the company, join local coding groups or chapters. Members of these groups can teach you helpful tricks, tell you about upcoming changes and help you get continuing education credits (CEUs) for your certification.
  5. Keep your coding books nearby or have your electronic coding tools open on your computer all the time. If you have the books, make sure to label helpful sections like Evaluation and Management (E/M), modifiers, etc. Play around in the electronic tools.  Learn where to find the coding clinics and other helpful links. There is no way you can remember every code or rule, but if you can maximize your time looking for an answer, you will increase your productivity.

  6. Be prepared for meetings. Whether in person or online, arrive at the meeting a few minutes before it starts. If you have questions, be ready to pose them. If you have something you want to present, have the program up, logged in and ready to go. In short, do not waste anyone’s time.

  7. In a new position, seek out training materials. Take time to review them, making your own notes. Review pertinent material at the beginning and end of each day.

There will be difficult and stressful moments, but remember to give yourself room to grow and learn from these moments. You need time to settle into your new role or the company’s culture (if completely new). I hope you found these tips useful and good luck in your new role!

For tips on becoming a medical coder see my previous blog.    

Robert Franco, CCS is a coding analyst at 3M Health Information Systems.