If you are considering a career in medical billing and coding, you may already know more about health information management than you might realize. This is because these roles are intricately entwined.

Health information management experts collaborate with physicians and nurses to ensure that health information is accurately and securely recorded. Their job is to handle critical components of health information collection and protection.

What is the most common health information that applies to all patients? What goes on the bill, and who pays for it? Medical billers and coders gather health information and translate it into a universal language used by care providers, medical facilities, insurance companies and government social programs like Medicare. However, what should you study — medical billing and coding or health information management? To answer that question, you need to know more about each.

What Is Medical Billing and Coding?

These healthcare professionals are in charge of processing patient data. The healthcare industry relies heavily on data. For this to work, though, every area in the healthcare industry must speak the same language.

Medical billers and coders take charge of transforming clinical data from patient documents into standardized codes that government and private payers can recognize. Medical billers and coders record a patient's insurance information alongside codes to correctly file and refund claims.

They work with insurance companies and other payers to collect payment for services after developing and filing accurate claims. Billers and coders are also in charge of the resubmission procedure if claims are rejected and the appeals process if claims are refused. It is a job that focuses on the critical data that keeps practices in business and patients getting the care they need.

What Is Health Information Management?

Professionals in the field of health information organize, categorize, and assess the massive amount of medical data created by the healthcare industry. Health information encompasses health data at all levels, including personal privacy and patient rights, staff and facility planning, research, financial rights and information, and technical roles in information administration such as statistics and data analysis.

Accurately documenting health information is crucial to patient safety. These data experts seek to ensure health information is established correctly, promptly, and securely. To ensure patient information is accurate and enhance patient safety through documentation, they collaborate with all healthcare providers and departments, including physicians, nurses, and lab, radiology, and pharmacy personnel.

Health Information Management vs Billing and Coding

There are obvious similarities between these two fields. Essentially, medical billers and coders are working within health information management. Their job is to collect and process precise information, managing data explicitly related to the healthcare payment process.

Health information management involves data in a broader sense. It would include the same information as medical coders and billers use but go beyond it. For example, health information management covers all patient data while certified billers and coders stick with payment processing information.

The education necessary to excel in these roles is different, as well. An associate degree is typically the minimum required to work in the broader field of health information management. However, many employers will expect a bachelor’s degree or even a graduate degree, especially in management.

The path to an excellent job as a medical biller and coder usually requires graduation from a certification program. This is because medical billing and coding requires different skills and knowledge specific to this segment of health information. For example, they must learn the proper coding languages, such as HCPCS and ICD. In addition, a medical coding and billing certification program aims to prepare you for a national exam specific to your field of study.

Health information management is more comprehensive. Students develop many of the same skills you might learn in a certification program and then go beyond that specific focus. They learn to organize and analyze data, for instance. They also spotlight coding quality control, storage and retrieval systems, and data protection processes.

The work environment might be different, as well. Medical billers and coders work in medical care environments, such as doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals, and other facilities necessary for treatment or diagnostic services. Someone with a degree in health information management may work in public health or for government agencies such as the department of health or education.

Medical Billing and Coding Programs — Texas

Perhaps the most significant difference between these two education paths is specialization. Getting your degree from an accredited medical coding and billing program such as the one at The College of Health Care Professions (CHCP) can help make you a specialist in your field. Health care management is a generalized field, whereas billing and coding is a specialty.

At CHCP, you learn to understand, explore, and use current CPT, HCPCS, and ICD code sets for medical coding and billing. You will learn fundamental medical coding and billing skills, how to use medical management software, to read and submit medical documents and billing forms, and process insurance claims. CHCP Medical Coding and Billing (MCB) courses are available both online and through hybrid delivery.

The on-campus program takes 38 weeks to complete or you could decide to enroll in our 48 week online program. Courses cover everything from HIPAA rules and regulations to MCB certification prep. The MCB program prepares you to take the Nationally Registered Certified Coding Specialist (NRCCS) Certification Exam through the National Association of Health Professionals (NAHP). Once you have this certificate, you will be able to begin your new career as a certified medical billing and coding specialist. Each student also takes part in externship experience within the MCB program to get hands-on training.

The College of Health Care Professions is committed to offering outstanding training in allied healthcare disciplines. You will gain knowledge and skills as a CHCP student through demonstration, real equipment operation, and practice of learned procedures. Our mission is to offer students the information and technical expertise required for entry-level careers in the allied healthcare industry while supporting their long-term career ambitions. We have campuses throughout major cities in Texas like Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston.

As a leader in healthcare education and training, CHCP will assist you in developing the skills required to excel in today's healthcare field and find the promising career that is suited for you. We are a physician-founded organization solely dedicated to healthcare education and training, and our certified programs have been educating healthcare professionals for over 30 years. CHCP teachers have real-world, on-the-job expertise and are dedicated to ensuring the success of all our students. Equally important, our diverse online and hybrid program offerings provide our students with the flexibility to learn on their own time.

Start Your Journey Now!

If the idea of working in health information excites you, then consider specializing in medical billing and coding. Contact us today to learn more about CHCP and our certificate programs.