by Laura Gerovac, PT and HIT Student
I am truly thrilled that on my career journey, both my physical therapy experience and medical coding/health information pathways have converged into that of a Trauma Registrar. This has been a perfect match for me, being able to combine and connect both fields.
A Trauma Registrar is indeed a role that may be filled by a variety of professional backgrounds, not limited to those with traditional HIT or medical coding training. Level I Trauma Centers need Trauma Registrars, and they are also needed at Level II and Level III Trauma Centers. As a Trauma Registrar, data is abstracted and codes are assigned using ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, and AIS code sets. The codes are entered in the Trauma Registry (state or national, depending on the level of Trauma Center). Information can be used for various initiatives including research studies, quality improvement, and injury prevention.
When seeking new experiences I have learned to look beyond the typical. Abounding with opportunities, the medical coding and health information field has many roles, including some that people may not typically think of. At an intersection between clinical care, medical coding, health information management, and information technology, the field expands even more when people bring their valuable knowledge from these other areas, and the diversity of varied skill sets truly adds depth.
My own experiences have been deepened recently by the invaluable opportunity to work with Lynn Kuehn, MS, RHIA, CCS-P, FAHIMA, as she develops content for a Practical Coding Experience course for new graduates from medical coding programs or other coding professionals looking to sharpen their skills. I am grateful for all that I have personally learned, as well as the chance to contribute to something that will help others learn too.
What I love most about being a physical therapist is being able to help others and the time I spend with them providing education to help them achieve their goals. My work on the new Practical Coding Experience course allowed me to combine these two favorite things, carried over into the HIT and medical coding field with an entirely new perspective.
The medical coding and health information field as it is now, did not exist when I started as a PT. There are jobs now that may not have existed even five years ago, and I expect there will be jobs five years from now that we don’t know about today. What the profession does today will define and build what those future jobs will look like.
When looking beyond the typical of today, you may also envision a possible new path that interests and inspires you; one that you can build. When seeking additional knowledge to add to your current foundation of skills and experience a bridge can be built connecting you to your future vision and career pathway.
I am very excited about my future journey and that of our profession, our part in the continued transformation of healthcare, and where it will lead us and the patients we serve.
About the Author
Laura Gerovac, PT and HIT Student
During many years of using and creating health information as a physical therapist, Laura Gerovac observed the enormous impact that health information has had on the evolution of health care. Excited about the great potential for health data to advance improvements in health care quality, patient outcomes, patient experiences, and population health, Laura returned to school to build a foundation in medical coding and health information technology/management. Laura reports “I am excited to be combining my knowledge with clinical experiences to continue to help improve the lives of others, using health information and data, as a Trauma Registrar.”
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