Medical coding is a type of language used in the medical field. It is the process in which medical personnel changes the information from diagnosis, medical services, and procedures into a universal alphanumerical code. The purpose is to quickly fill the data and ensure that it is easily retrievable or used in the medical billing process so insurance carriers can read and pay bills.
So every time you see a healthcare specialist, the provider will take note of your medical history, your complaint and make a prognosis. All of this information is sent to a medical coder to document. This documentation serves as background history, but it is also used to determine the payment for the provider.
History of Medical Coding
Here is the coding clarified. In the 17th century in London, the process was invented to keep track of causes of death, becoming the London Bills of Mortality. Now it is a process that helps people in the medical field correlate information and bill patients correctly. In addition, medical coding helps maintain records and use them to improve the overall outcome of healthcare.
Medical coding requires a particular skill, and coders are considered a part of a medical team. They work with clinic and hospital management, medical providers, and insurance providers.
The task of the medical coder is to review the clinical statements and assign standard codes using ICD-10-CM, HCPCS Level II, and CPT classification systems. They then forward the information to medical billers who process and follow up on bills.
Why Do Medical Professionals Need Medical Coders?
The healthcare industry relies heavily on documentation. However, all that data can quickly pile up until you’re swimming in it. Therefore, it’s useful to have a universal system that helps organize everything into easy-to-find information. They use this information to learn, to decide, and to perform medical diagnoses. The treatment is documented for reimbursement and to guarantee high-quality care.
How Is It Done?
Certified Medical Coders translate the information they get from the doctor and translates it into code. This professional reviews the patient notes and codes them to the specifications required by the particular healthcare provider's coding language. Coders generally use ICD-10 and CPT codes to translate the notes into medical codes.
Coders have a well-rounded medical background. They know anatomy, physiology, and many medical procedures and policies. On top of that, they must have coding-specific training and certification with credentials like the AAPC.
Without specific medical coding procedures, clinics, doctors, and insurance companies would have a lot of unnecessary information that wouldn’t translate well between services. It would make it hard for medical personnel to find exactly what they needed to know when they needed to know it. Through coding, experts can run data analytics to get specific information on patients and the population in general. In turn, this information can help with diagnosis, treatment options, research, and billing.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max. One of the more interesting sites she visited while researching this article was sites that allowed you to become certified in medical coding, sites such as Coding Clarified.