This advice is pretty basic and much of it is applicable to working remotely most professions. First and foremost for your remote setting you need an area that provides a measure of privacy. Due to strict privacy rules and government regulations such as HIPAA medical coders must take the utmost care to protect the sensitive information they view on a daily basis. This can be anything from a patients name and address to even their social security number. It is recommended that medical coders have their work station in a private area not in the common areas of your residence preferably in a room in a locked door. This is preferable with many clients. This isn’t always doable though. If you do not have a private room to use for a dedicated office and you need to print things for work often a locking file cabinet or desk will be proficient.
As a medical coder most clients will prefer you to have a dedicated work computer. This is to minimize the risk that patient health information is compromised. It is also best that you are the only one that uses that computer. For the same reasons mentioned before in most cases the client will address this with you, protect patient information is of the highest importance!
I have worked remotely for quite a few years now and have used many remote set ups. The following is my recommendation but in reality the best thing to do is use what works for you. First a large desktop is a must. Sufficient room for necessary papers, work books, and other items without being cluttered keeps you productive and not searching for things you need. A desk top too is preferable to a lap top. It is fine to have a lap top for work when you travel, but as a general rule for most of the medical coders I have spoken to working on a desk top is easier. You don’t need the most expensive desk top available but you want to keep in mind especially if you eventually hope to do pay-per-chart work, waiting on applications and websites to load can be bothersome since its costing you money. Along with a computer with some decent speed you want internet with the same. It’s tempting to get the cheapest internet available but again, waiting for downloads and websites takes time. If you are opening up different sites and applications this can mean more time than you think. This will cost you a lot of money in the long run. The last thing I recommend if you are working in multiple applications and sites is to invest in duel monitors. It makes a huge difference not having to toggle back and forth. Of course it goes without saying a sturdy comfortable chair is a must. Most chairs have a rating system for use per day. It’s worth the investment on a quality one!
This set up or something similar is used by most of the network of coders I know. Again the focus is driving productivity and efficiency, this is used as a good basis for a remote medical coder. Most importantly use what works for you!