Every physician knows the consequence of using a wrong diagnostic code – it will not only affect reimbursement, but more importantly, also jeopardize patient care. Medical coding outsourcing helps avoid risky coding practices. By entrusting the task to skilled and experienced coders in a reliable medical coding company, physicians can rest assured that patients receive proper care and that they stay ahead in billing and practice management.
The medical coding system looks deceptively simple. After all, it involves applying specific codes to medical procedures, diagnoses, disease symptoms, surgeries and their complications, drug reactions, unidentified symptoms, and other medical events, However, the truth is medical coding is complex and prone to errors. Here are some of the risky practices that physicians can avoid through medical billing and coding outsourcing to an experienced service provider:
- Not coding to the highest degree of specificity: Detailed examination of the medical record is necessary to understand the documented condition and provide the precise code. For instance, if the diagnosis is hypertension, coders must check whether the condition is benign or malignant and enter the correct code. They also need to check for secondary diagnoses.
- Complacency: Coders who fall into the practice of using software to enter codes are exposed to risk of error. Experts know that while coding apps enable coders to find codes easily and quickly, the programs could be flawed. Using the Internet always to find a code also may not be advisable. In a reliable outsourcing company, the coders check code books to find the codes. Moreover, they would also be up-to-date on the latest CPT codes, ICD-10 codes, and AMA guidelines.
- Coding from memory: This is also a risky practice. Entering codes automatically, without paying attention to details, could result in wrong coding for a patient who has a slightly different condition and diagnosis.
- Relying solely on transcripts and cheat sheets: Having a cheat sheet could avoid the need to research codes and provide information about things like what insurance pays which codes. But this practice is also prone to errors. Experienced coders will also use official resources and spend time reviewing all documentation.
- Not concentrating on the job: In a home or hospital setting, medical coders could be exposed to various distractions during working hours. These including chatting on the phone, social networking, and gossiping. Coders in a professional medical coding company would be focused on their work which would ensure accuracy and timeliness.
Certified coders in an established medical coding outsourcing have extensive knowledge in medical terminology, anatomy, health conditions, medical procedures, and medications. Moreover, they would be alert to coding pitfalls and avoid them to ensure accurate diagnostic and procedural codes for all patient encounters.