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 are responsible for 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 that medical billers and coders 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 when people management is part of the role.

The path to employment 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 billing and coding  certificate program should be designed to help prepare you for a national exam specific to your field of study.

Health information management is more comprehensive. Students are expected to develop many of the same skills emphasized in a certificate program and then go beyond that specific focus. They learn to organize and analyze data, for instance. They also receive instruction in 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 a department of health or education.

Medical Billing and Coding ProgramsTexas

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

Our program at CHCP is designed to help you understand, explore, and use current CPT, HCPCS, and ICD code sets for medical billing and coding. Instruction includes fundamental medical billing and coding skills, how to use medical management software, how to read and submit medical documents and billing forms, and how to process insurance claims. CHCP’s medical billing and coding courses are available both online and through blended delivery.

The on-campus program takes as few as 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 certification prep. The Medical Billing and Coding Certificate Program is designed to help you prepare 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 eligible to pursue a job in your new career as a certified medical billing and coding specialist. Each student also takes part in an externship experience within the  program to get hands-on training.

The College of Health Care Professions is committed to offering outstanding training in allied healthcare disciplines. You will have the opportunity to 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, San Antonio, McAllen and Houston.

As one of the leaders in healthcare education and training, CHCP can assist you in developing the skills required to perform effectively in today's healthcare field and find the career path that is suited to you. We are a physician-founded organization solely dedicated to healthcare education and training, and our certificate programs have been educating healthcare professionals for over 30 years. CHCP teachers have real-world, on-the-job experience and are dedicated to the success of all our students. Equally important, our diverse online and blended program offerings provide our students with the flexibility to learn in 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.