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AAPC CEO's Welcome Underlines Career Growth

AAPC CEO's Welcome Underlines Career Growth

AAPC CEO Bevan Erickson welcomed more than 700 members to the Washington, D.C. Regional Conference this morning with “10 Steps to Advance Your Career,” a strategy to help medical coders and others see and adapt to changes in the healthcare industry. The times are changing, he said, and the attendees can surmount changes if they start now.

Failure to Evolve Prevents Success

The strategies emphasize foresight, ongoing education, flexibility, and courage to change risk failure. Humor, examples, and mixture of futurism and reminiscence helped the audience prepare themselves for an uncertain future.
While membership grows in the organization and the roles of medical coding are expanding (only 38 percent of members identify as medical coders), the future is complicated by political, economic, social, technical, environmental, and legal forces, Erickson said. Any of these can change a member’s personal and career path. To forestall surprises, Erickson recommends the following:
• Pay Attention to the World Around You – Don’t be so focused on the job or tasks at hand that you don’t see how the world is changing around you. Be observant and think critically about what you are seeing.
• Beat the Red Queen – Using the stationary race from Through the Looking Glass as an example, Erickson advised against running in place. Evolutionary gains often are matched by equal changes, he explained, and real gains are by making significantly differing moves that include changing specialties, jobs, and careers.
• Shift and Use Leverage – Using Ptolemy’s lever as an example, Erickson demonstrated how success can be gained by using minimum input to achieve the maximum output.
• Your Laureate is Not Enough – Have a credential, degree, or success doesn’t help a medical coder in the future unless the professional remains curious, pursues education, and takes risk.
• Work on Your Soft Skills – Soft skills like critical thinking, managing people, active listening, emotional intelligence, and other relationship activities are becoming more important to employers than hard skills.
• Control the Center- Controlling your career is as important as controlling the center of a chessboard, he told the crowd. If the center is maintained, the chess player can face any challenge.
• Move Laterally Within Your Organization – Rugby teams are more successful than American football teams in moving down the field because they pass the ball sideways rather than push through the center. Taking a lateral position allows a professional to learn and prove new skills and better justify moving up to better jobs.
• Be Like Water – Become as changeable like water so you can fit into a career’s cup, stream, or flow around obstacles.
• Kaizen – Make small improvements as you go. Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy of improving yourself, your process, and your work constantly, little bits at a time.
• Play Dungeons and Dragons – Erickson, a Dungeons and Dragons fan, encourages looking at one’s career like that game. There are critical thinking, problem solving, charisma, and strategic skills applied every day in the office.

New Protean Workplace

Erickson warned that a new workplace is evolving where jobs aren’t guaranteed, no one tells you exactly how or what to do, automation replaces processes and computers, and hours and worksite are flexible. He emphasized flexibility and broad knowledge, while offering employers unique knowledge and skills.

Brad Ericson
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About Has 336 Posts

Brad Ericson, MPC, CPC, COSC, is a seasoned healthcare writer and editor. He directed publishing at AAPC for nearly 12 years and worked at Ingenix for 13 years and Aetna Health Plans prior to that. He has been writing and publishing about healthcare since 1979. He received his Bachelor's in Journalism from Idaho State University and his Master's of Professional Communication degree from Westminster College of Salt Lake City.

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