For hospitals, doctors’ offices, and clinics, outsourced medical coding solves many of the workflow and backlog problems associated with maintaining coding department. Looking to cut costs, some healthcare facilities are choosing to send their medical coding overseas. But there are some potential risks with off-shore medical coding, that are negated with using a medical coding company in the United States.
Technology in certain regions of the world often lacks the robust security measures employed in medical coding firms in the United States. Sending private health records to a possibly unsecured locale creates liability issues associated with violating HIPAA and other privacy protection standards. Security breaches can best be prevented when systems and networks are controlled locally. The potential risks for law suits if this information is breached is pretty significant.
Medical coding is precision-oriented. Failure to understand nuances in meaning caused by language barriers can lead to coding errors that cost facilities hundreds, or even thousands of dollars a year.
Unless the medical coder’s command of the English language is particularly strong, there remains the risk of vague coding that can lead to inaccurate billing or denial of claims by insurance providers.
With the move to ICD-10 scheduled to take place October 1, 2015, a firm command of the English language becomes even more critical—as an increase of more than five times the current number of diagnostic codes will make coding more complex.
Communication Hindrances Due to Differing Time Zones
A nine-hour time difference can create problems with communication between healthcare providers and coders, especially when time-sensitive issues arise. In the event your medical office needs to communicate with the coding facility, a consistent time zone makes it easier to solve problems in real time, rather than having to submit a help ticket and wait for a response that will occur off-hours.
Difficulty Staying Up-to-Date on Changes to Code Procedures
Diagnosis and procedure codes are modified continually due to industry mandates and new legislation. The American Health Information Management Association requires that in order to remain certified, members must comply with stringent continuing education requirements. Offshore outsourcing removes the control companies have on ensuring that their medical coders remain up-to-date on the latest coding protocols, while a United States-based coding company ensures that continual requirements with regard to training are being met.