Medical Coding Skill: Medical billing and coding experts are essential to the daily operations of the health care business. In collaboration with patients, doctors, and nurses, these professionals collect diagnostic data, develop patient-specific codes, and write invoices for insurance companies to be paid. Medical billing and coding may be a good fit for you if you have strong attention to detail, a desire to work in the healthcare profession, or just want to put your computer coding talents to use.
Let’s see how you can become a better medical coder in a few simple ways:
Table of Contents
1. Be Aware Of All The Guidelines
The guidelines are your coding bible, regardless of whether you’re using ICD, CPT, or HCPCS. To code correctly and properly, you need to be familiar with the standards. The guidelines are typically what make or break your coding.
Review, review, and more review is essential for grasping and putting guidelines into action. It’s a great idea to print out a copy of these instructions so you have them with you at all times.
For example, while you wait for your child’s soccer game to begin, while you wait for your doctor’s appointment, or while you wait in line at the grocery store are all great times to review guidelines. However, while it’s unlikely you’ll memorize everything, getting to grips with the standards and knowing where to look for pertinent information will come in handy should the need arise.
2. Get Familiar With The Most Recent CPT And ICD Codes
New CPT codes are added to the codebooks every year. Few of the old CPT codes are wiped out with the introduction of new codes. In 2022, there are a slew of modifications to the CPT codes. Many CPT code changes have been implemented in the surgical sector.
Prior to applying any CPT codes, be sure to verify the DOS (date of service) of the medical report in question. Since the pandemic, we’ve been using COVID-19 ICD 10 codes. Many new ICD-io codes will be introduced in 2022 as well.
The number of ICD 10 codes has grown significantly, and they are extremely detailed. Coding guidelines remain the same, but new ICD 10 codes must be taken into consideration.
3. Sharpen Your ICD-10 Coding Skills
Now, only coronavirus illness can be coded using COVID-19’s new code set. COVID-19 disease is a complex disease, and coders must be extremely precise while classifying the disease’s current and historical status. Sepsis and severe sepsis are coded differently in ICD 10.
There are several diagnostic codes that must be learned in order to properly diagnose this condition. Pregnancy complications are another area in which we have trouble categorizing in ICD-10. Coding a pregnancy problem in ICD 10 is a little more difficult and specific than in previous editions. Codes for each trimester and week of pregnancy can be found in ICD 10.
The number of weeks of pregnancy is indicated by Z3A category codes. Codes in the Z3A category are used in conjunction with codes for pregnancy complications as a secondary code. So that the right diagnosis may be coded, coders must know the difference between Excludes 1 and Excludes 2. As per coding recommendations, Excludes 1 and Excludes 2 criteria cannot be coded together, but there may be an exception to this rule.
4. A Solid Understanding Of Pathophysiology
Pathophysiology refers to the changes in function that occur as a result of disease or damage. There are times when clinicians will describe functional changes in the medical record without expressly noting the diagnosis.
Coders who have a thorough understanding of the sickness or damage in question are better able to identify the condition that the clinician is fundamentally but not explicitly documenting, enabling the coder to create a suitable query for undocumented diagnoses or diagnostic specificity.
As clinical validation audits become more common, it is critical that coders, clinical documentation improvement specialists, and auditors keep a closer eye on medical records to ensure that all of the pieces add up to firmly support the codes that are reported as the basis for claims.
5. Improve Your IT Skills
The use of computers and other office technology is commonplace in the medical coding industry. Making medical tests and treatments easy to code is one of the many uses of a coding program. Learning and using these technologies and applications aids you in fulfilling your employer’s specific needs.
6. Thrive Towards Better Time Management
A patient’s prognosis can be greatly improved if they receive timely therapy. Patients’ lives could be in jeopardy if this position is underutilized. This cycle of diagnosis and therapy includes medical coders.
Patients’ medical records can be transferred more quickly when medical coders are timely and accurate in their coding duties. Punctuality can help with pre-authorization requests from the patient’s health insurance company.
7. Optimize Your R&D Efforts
Even with a thorough understanding of pathophysiology and a firm grasp of the guidelines, even the most skilled coders will face situations where they lack the necessary coding or clinical knowledge to accurately code a diagnosis. This is spot-on in light of the rapidly evolving nature of medicine.
When it comes to becoming a competent developer, being a good researcher is essential. For complex code questions or to back up your coding judgments in the absence of formal advice, you must know where to look for useful information.
To sum up, these seven characteristics are essential for a successful medical coding job. Completing a medical coding instructional course helps build upon and develop the skill sets required to succeed in this position.
As a result of completing an educational or career training course, you may be better prepared to appear for the American Academy of Professional Coders certification exam (AAPC). This certification tells potential employers that you have the knowledge and abilities necessary to work in a medical coding position.
All of these tips may take some time to adopt, but the effort will pay off in a more thorough, correct, and ultimately more compliant code assignment.