An interview with a clinical coder

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“An interview with... a Clinical Coder”

Leanne has been contracting with us for the last two years, and after having a bit of a chat about our recent blog posts she kindly spent 15 minutes with us yesterday evening to answer a few of our questions about her career within Clinical Coding.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

My name is Leanne Jones and I have been coding for six years. I originally trained at Derby Royal teaching Hospital and passed my ACC exam in 2012. I made the move to contract coding in 2014. 

What made you decide to enter the world of Clinical Coding? 

I would say that I 'fell' into clinical coding after getting a summer job at the hospital after University within health records. I then saw an advert and thought that sounds interesting and luckily have never looked back. 

What key attributes do you think it takes to be a good Clinical Coder?

I think the key attributes to being a good Clinical Coder are a keen eye for attention to detail, ability to use own judgment when interpreting documentation, great communication and keyboard skills and in my experience a good memory helps.

What has been the hardest moment of your career so far?

The hardest moment of my career so far was making the move to contract coding as I loved working at Derby where I had some amazing friends/colleagues and a chance to progress but I had made my mind up and haven't regretted it since.

What has been the best/most enjoyable moment of your coding career so far?

The most enjoyable moment of my career so far is setting up my own business in a career that I love. 

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of my career is moaned about daily in any coding office and that's the shoddy information we are often given to code from. Trying to find details to make your coding as accurate as possible can be extremely frustrating and time consuming.

What do you like and dislike most about Clinical Coding?

What I like most about Clinical Coding is the medical knowledge that you acquire. When I first started training I was so impressed with the heated debates between coders throwing abbreviations and medical terms about and I wanted to be a one of them, it's also great for pub quizzes and impressing family and friends. 

What I dislike most about Clinical Coding is the sometimes upsetting content of the case notes. You deal with illness and death daily and it can really affect you. It's not uncommon to see a few tears in the office.

If you were in charge for one day, what would you change about Clinical Coding?

If I were in charge for one day I would increase coders pay, as the training and knowledge needed for the job surpasses a band 4* easily.

*A  Band 4 permanent salary within the NHS is between £19,000 and £22,000

Do you have any worries for the future of Clinical Coding? If so, What?

I don't really have any worries for the future of Clinical Coding and think paperless coding will be a positive step.

What advice would you give to junior/novice coders who are entering the market for the first time?

Advice for novice coders would be become really familiar with your books and have as much information in them as possible. Absorb information from your peers and question anything you don't understand again and again until it sinks in

To discuss clinical coding, as a client or contractor, please contact Tom Blakey or Sophie Ward ​​