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The Top 10 Medical Coder Must-Haves

Woman using computer in home office

As a rapidly growing field with new opportunities on the horizon every day, medical coding is a terrific job for people who enjoy challenging and rewarding work paired with schedule flexibility. Since a good majority of medical coding is remote, coders can do the job from anywhere with an internet connection.

If you’re looking to kickstart your coding career, you’ll want to have a few handy essentials on hand to ensure you’re productive in your home office.

After polling a hundred current remote coders and talking to our longtime team members about the home office items they can’t live without, we came up with this comprehensive list of coding necessities. And, even if you’re a longtime coder, you may be surprised by the results.

Here are the ten items that topped our list:

1. Dual Monitors

No doubt about it: dual monitors are practically guaranteed productivity boosters. Two screens will increase your productivity by making it easier to see and read a chart on one of them while transferring it into code on the second screen. By being able to move a document or browser window into an entirely separate window, you’ll have much more screen room to work. This also keeps you more organized and focused, since you won’t constantly have to shift between browser tabs. No wonder all our top coders have them!

2. Good Lighting (Natural Lighting or Windows)

In almost any field, good lighting is essential to work productivity. Proper light makes work tasks easier while reducing fatigue and headaches, while poor lighting can cause drowsiness and make items such as computer screens and documents harder to see. If you want to be in the right headspace for the duration of your workday, you’ll definitely want to be in the presence of warm and radiant light.
If your desk area doesn’t have natural light, invest in a natural light lamp to provide artificial light on the natural light spectrum. These lights make reading and working more enjoyable… and they’re affordable, too!

3. Comfortable Desk Chair

Remote coders spend significant time at their desks. If you’re going to be there all day, you’ll want to ensure you have an extremely comfortable place to sit.
A comfortable chair can make a world of difference in your posture, and proper posture decreases stress and makes you more productive. You don’t have the break the bank for a state of the art model, but shelling out a few bucks for a nicer chair can make a huge difference in your mood and attitude.

4. Printer / Scanner / Shredder

Depending on regulations with your company, you may need to printer, scan or shred documents throughout the day. A high quality printer ensures you’ll be able to print out any necessary materials as they’re needed on the fly. The printer needn’t be top of the line. It merely needs to provide decent quality printouts that you can easily read and review. Your best bet is an all-in-one printer, copier and scanner option so you’ll easily be able to reproduce and send important documents directly from your home office.
Shredders are also essential in this line of work, as you may deal with medical documents containing private personal information. Protect others against identity theft by shredding all personally identifying information once you no longer need it.

5. Fast Internet

We live in super-speed digital era, and it’s important to have a super-speed connection to keep up. Slow internet hinders productivity, making tasks that should take only minutes take what feels like forever. You’ll only understand the power of a faster internet connection once you experience it. If you haven’t had an upgrade in a while, it may be time to talk to your provider about your options.

6. Notepads (Note Paper, Post-Its, Scratch Paper)

Even in an age where everything is digital, there’s still nothing like a good old handwritten note. For instance, if you need quickly jot down a phone number or take notes on a call, handwritten notes are quick and convenient. It’s helpful to have a variety of note options for different uses, such as Post-Its for reminders and notebooks for when in-depth details.

7. Highlighters, Pens, Pencils and Rulers

Coders frequently come across information they need to reference quickly. Having a desk stocked full of highlighters, pens, pencils and rulers makes it easy to stay organized and to make sure you don’t miss important things.
Often, people try to take notes on their computers, but doing that haphazardly can leave you overwhelmed and disorganized. Having a pen or highlighter handy is extremely helpful, so make sure you have plenty to choose from.

8. Coding Books / Reference Materials

Reference materials are essential to success as a remote coder. Coding without reference materials by your side is a surefire way to make mistakes, which can be troublesome for your employer and may ultimately cost you your job.
This is especially true given the recent transition to ICD-10, with more than 68,000 codes with which you will need to familiarize yourself. Prevent problems before they begin by keeping reference materials handy.

9. Coffee / Water

Coding requires a lot of mental energy, and for many, caffeine is the gas that can help them make it through the day. A quick-dispensing coffeemaker such as a Nespresso or a Keurig can help you stay caffeinated in a fraction of the time it takes to make an entire pot of coffee.
Water is essential to good health, so in addition to getting your caffeine fix, make sure you’re getting your daily water fix, too. Doctors recommend drinking eight 8 oz. glasses per day… and this is especially true if you have caffeine, which can dehydrate you.

10. Radio / Bluetooth Speakers / Background Noise (but no distractions like kids)

If you’re going to be at your computer all day anyway, why not jazz up your workspace with a few funky tunes? Music and background noise can help you stay focused and can bolster your creative thinking. If you enjoy listening to music while you work, get yourself a good pair of Bluetooth speakers that you can control remotely for maximum impact.
Too much background noise can become a distraction, so it’s important to strike a balance to ensure you won’t be distracted by kids, construction or other loud noises. If you live in a noisy space, consider investing in noise canceling headphones to block out everything except the music.

Are you a coder looking for new opportunities? Visit us at www.edelberg.com to learn why our coders love working with us!

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