Please help me find stats and hard data to back up this claim: industry outlook and career prospects for medical billing and coding professionals is positive and will continue to grow

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Please help me find stats and hard data to back up this claim: industry outlook and career prospects for medical billing and coding professionals is positive and will continue to grow

Hello! Thanks for your question. I understand that you are looking for stats and hard data to back up the claim that the industry outlook and career prospects for medical billing and coding professionals are positive and will continue to grow. The short answer is that industry outlook and career prospects for medical coders and billers are very positive and will continue to grow with a higher-than-average annual median wage and a projected 15% increase in employment.
The two most useful sources that I found to answer your question are the websites of New York Career Institute and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Below you will find a deep dive of my methodology and findings--

METHODOLOGY
To answer your question, I searched through industry reports, government reports/databases, trusted media sites and corporate websites. I used the websites of New York Career Institute and Rasmussen College to come up with the list of reasons for the increase in demand for healthcare information technicians.

ROLE OF MEDICAL CODERS AND MEDICAL BILLERS
Medical coders and billers together are termed as "Health Information Technicians". Please note, that Health Information Technicians can specialize in different aspects of Health Information, and therefore can work as Medical Coders, Medical Billers, Coding Specialists or Cancer Registrars. Also, bear in mind, that occasionally, one person performs the duties of both medical coder and medical biller
According to Southern California Health Institute, "Medical coders assign the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes to procedures and International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes for the physician’s diagnosis of the patient. Simply put, medical coders review patient records, assigning the proper codes, based on the information provided, so that the insurance company can be appropriately billed... Medical billers step in then, utilizing special billing software to enter all the assigned codes and other information so that the insurance claim can be accurately filed. Medical billers have more opportunity to interact with patients and medical staff directly, as they must not only obtain insurance information from the patient directly but also must be able to explain the nuances of insurance coverage, such as co-payments and deductibles. They follow-up with patients and insurance companies to see if claims have been paid. They also play a significant role as far as physicians go, making sure that they are receiving the reimbursement from insurance companies."

WAGE INFORMATION
- According to BLS, the annual median pay in 2016 for a medical biller or coder was $37,110, or $17.84 per hour. In contrast, the annual median salary for workers nationwide was $36,200.
- States with the highest annual mean salary for health information technicians are California ($48,840) and New York ($45,060).
- States with the highest employment level for health information technicians are California (20,840) and Texas (17,110).
- The nationwide top 10% of health information technicians make $27 per hour while entry-level health information technicians make an average $34,000 or $16.42 per hour.
- American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) undertook a survey of Healthcare Information Technicians and found that in 2014, the respondents saw an average 8.4% increase in their wages.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
The AAPC survey also discovered that the rate of unemployment had steadily declined since 2012, among all categories of respondents (Apprentices, CPC's, those with a college degree and those without a college degree).

JOB PROSPECTS
- According to BLS, "Employment of health information technicians is projected to grow 15 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations." The employment projections data for health information technicians shows an expected numerical increase of 29,000 jobs from 2014 to 2024. In the same year-range, the nationwide average growth for jobs is only 7%.
- According to BLS, "Employment of billing and posting clerks is projected to grow 13 percent. Job growth is anticipated to be particularly strong for those in medical billing because increased demand for healthcare services will require more of these workers."

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS
According to a report by IBISWorld, the Medical Claims Processing industry showed an annual growth of 8.8% between the years 2011-2016. The revenue generated by the industry is $3 billion and claims processing is the largest source of industry revenue. It is expected to provide 49.1% of the revenue.

FACTORS/REASONS FOR INCREASE IN DEMAND OF HEALTHCARE INFORMATION TECHNICIANS
- The federally mandated switch from the 9th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases or ICD-9 (the older system used for diagnosis and coding), to (ICD-10) led to a shortage of coders and billers. In light of this shortage, health firms began offering incentives such as retention bonuses to smooth over any potential crisis. According to a CNBC article on the matter, "TrustHCS, a Springfield, Missouri-based health information services provider, plans to double its medical coding workforce over the next 12 to 18 months. The additional 300 coders it is looking to recruit, train and supervise will then be contracted out to do work for hospitals and doctors' offices."

- The switch from ICD-9, with only 17,000 codes to ICD-10, with 140,000 codes means that current medical coders and billers are "navigating a huge learning curve". Due to this, some current employees would opt for retirement rather than learn a new system.

- An ONC data brief on electronic health record (EHR) adoption through 2014 reveals that 83% of physicians have an EHR. This increasing focus on health data and informatics, along with the digitization of health records means that the demand for well-trained medical coders and billers will continue to increase over the coming years.

- The demand for cancer registrars will remain high over the coming years because of the nationwide drive to expand cancer registries. These registries help keep track of patients and geographical trends.

- As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, an increased number of claims are being made to insurance companies.

- Under the Affordable Care Act, the number of Americans who have obtained or will soon obtain health insurance is steadily increasing.

CONCLUSION
To wrap it up, the industry outlook and career prospects for medical coders and medical billers is very positive and will continue to show steady growth. I hope this helps! Thanks for asking Wonder. Please let us know if we can help with anything else!
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