Medical coding has been used by some of the world’s largest companies to stay connected, even in times of crisis, but the job has also been accused of leaving doctors with little or no incentive to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in medicine.
As the tech sector is getting bigger, there is also a growing demand for medical coding positions, especially for healthcare professionals who are not directly working for a company but also are working on their own projects and do not necessarily know how to code.
While the role of a medical coding job is not very glamorous, the demand for doctors to be up- to-date on developments in healthcare has seen companies such as Uber, Amazon, Airbnb and Spotify fill up vacancies for medical code positions.
Medical coding jobs are usually open for six months or more and pay around $25,000 to $30,000.
A recent job listing from LinkedIn said a position with the health insurance company United Healthcare had been filled by a medical code specialist with a specialised background in coding.
“In terms of the demand, the industry is booming and we are witnessing a big increase in medical coding roles,” said the LinkedIn post.
“I do not know of any jobs that I have found that pay less than $20,000 a month.
There is also an increase in job vacancies in healthcare related industries.”
It has been estimated that medical coding is the most popular job in India, with over 1.2 million jobs being created every month.
This means that the average salary for a medical coders is around $75,000, according to job search site Glassdoor.
This translates to around $11.60 per hour.
But not all coding jobs in India pay as much as that, and there are some jobs that are better paying.
The most lucrative coding jobs tend to involve developing algorithms to help the healthcare team stay current on developments such as new treatments or diagnosis.
A post on LinkedIn suggested that a job with a medical degree could pay as high as $80,000 per month.
While it has been claimed that a lot of doctors are not taking up coding as a career, a number of doctors have pointed out that the profession has been around for years and has helped doctors stay up to date with the world around them.
Dr Sankar Prasad, a neurosurgeon, who is the founder and CEO of the Mumbai-based National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), told the Times of India that doctors working in healthcare could not have known of the rise in coding in India.
“This job was created for them to learn the technology.
There was a lot that they were not aware of, which is why they did not take up it,” he said.”
We have more than 10,000 neurosurgeons in our state, and most of them do not even know how a medical job is done.
This job was to teach them about the technology and get them to understand what it is like to work in a medical team,” he added.
Dr Prasand added that a medical profession with a strong medical coding track record would not have a problem finding new medical codgers.
“The people who are being trained now have a lot more experience.
They will have to understand the latest trends, but they are also likely to understand how to use the technology,” he argued.
“We are in a time where there is a lot demand for healthcare jobs, and we need to train these people and make sure they have the right skills to work safely in the medical sector.”
According to data from the World Health Organisation, coding is one of the top five industries in the world, with a market share of over 40 per cent.
According to the National Center for Medical Research (NCMR), coding was identified as one of nine major areas of expertise for the profession in 2019.
It is estimated that the number of coding jobs worldwide has grown from around 4.2 lakh in 2016 to more than 9.5 lakh in 2019, making it the largest industry in the country.
The growth of the industry has also come at a time when medical coding has seen a dip in the number and quality of doctors.
In 2018, there were almost 13,000 medical codings vacancies in India but in 2019 that number has dropped to less than 1,500, according the NCPR.
Dr Sudhir Kapoor, a consultant in neurosurgery at the National Institute for Medical Education and Research (NIMER), said the number was growing in a similar fashion.
“There is a need for coding in medicine, but there is no shortage of people who have a good job and are looking for the next job,” he told Quartz.
Dr Kapoor said the coding boom could be the result of an increasing demand for health professionals.
“As more people are getting jobs, the job is getting harder.
As the demand is increasing, the salary is going down.
There are less job vacancies as people want