CAREER DEVELOPMENT / NOV. 11, 2014
version 8, draft 8

How to Become A Clinical Coding Officer

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Clinical Coding Officers keep patients’ medical records updated and ensure that their information is available for medical staff.  As a Clinical Coding Officer you would also keep a record of a patient’s care between different health practitioners.

What Do Clinical Coding Officers Do?

Your main duties as a Clinical Coding Officer would include:

  • Locating and checking patient records
  • Creating new records and keeping existing ones up to date using a computer system
  • Filing
  • Sending test samples to laboratories
  • Keeping test results and letters with the correct patient records
  • Booking appointments, greeting patients and handling GP enquiries
  • Recording illnesses and treatments using a clinical coding system
  • Keeping records of all patient admissions, discharges, transfers and deaths
  • Inputting data from paper records onto a computer system
  • Collating statistical information

Hours and Work Environment

Your hours would generally be 37.5 per week, although some hospital departments operate a 24 hour service so some on-call duties and overtime may be required. Part-time hours and job-shares may also be possible.

You would work in a variety of settings depending on your duties including; filing rooms, medical records libraries or in an office.

Salary

Clinical Coding Officer (Band 3)

Between £16,271 and £19,268 per annum

Assistant Health Records Manager (Band 5)

Between £21,388 and £27,901

Source: National Careers Service

Skills Required

To be a Clinical Coding Officer you should have the following skills:

  • An interest in the health service
  • High levels of accuracy and detailing
  • Strong communication skills
  • A tactful, helpful and patient manner
  • The ability to remain calm under pressure
  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • Good administrative and computer skills
  • A respect for confidentiality

Qualifications Required

Previous experience of office work is useful and this should include the use of word processing and other computer packages. You would need a good standard of general education including GCSEs in English and maths.

Apprenticeships are sometimes available and what’s available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the skills employers are looking for. More information can be found on the Apprenticeships website.

It may be possible to get into this career though an NHS work placement. Check out the NHS Professionals website for more information.

Your employer will carry out a Disclosure and Barring Service check before you are able to start work as you will be working with highly confidential and sensitive information.

You will undergo induction training when you first start your job, followed by on-the-job training carried out by experienced staff. You will also be offered the chance to go on in-house training courses.

Career Development

Joining a professional body; the Institute of Health Record Information and Management (IHRIM), for example, might be helpful. The IHRIM offers a range of qualifications in health information management including:

  • National Clinical Coding Qualification (UK)
  • IHRIM Foundation, Intermediate Certificate and Diploma
  • Level 2 Certificate in Healthcare Support Services

Further information on these courses can be found at the IHRIM website.

With experience, you could work in hospitals or the armed forces. Vacancies are advertised in the local press, industry journals and on the NHS Jobs website.

It’s useful if you can gain experience through a relevant work placement. Details of how to go about this are available on the NHS Professionals website.

With experience, you could choose to remain a specialist in clinical coding or move on to become an assistant health records manager, or another management role.

So if you are a good administrator and have a passion for healthcare then perhaps then is the right career for you.

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