It goes without saying that encoding clinical data is one of the most crucial aspects of a health information management system, given the nature and sensitivity of patient medical records and other related information. This is as true of patients who visit the outpatient medical units of hospitals and medical facilities as it is of patients who have to stay in the hospital to recuperate. The rapid advances made in digital technology have thankfully made it possible for coding systems to keep pace with the humongous volume of medical information being generated by hospitals and other medical facilities that are now increasingly moving towards an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system.
Time and Money
Because providing healthcare services is their priority, hospitals and medical facilities usually do not have on board a retinue of coding professionals and even if they do, they do not have the resources to conduct regular training sessions to keep them updated on the latest coding guidelines formulated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Thus it is natural that they rely on professional outpatient coding service providers to carry out the task. It is a wise decision and the reasons are outlined below.
Cutting Edge Developments
There is more than one technical process to convert clinical information to equivalent codes that can then be used for various secondary purposes. To automate this process, medical data is structured using menu-driven “pick lists” of specific bits of clinical information related to diagnosis and treatment procedures of various ailments and then linked to codes. Sometimes bits of coded information in one set may be linked to equivalent codes in another set by generating data maps. Professional outpatient coding service providers are well abreast of the latest technologies shaping their field of work and stock up on the knowledge and training required to wield these state-of-art tools, technologies, and technical processes.
Rules and Guidelines
The CMS had developed the National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) to promote the use of correct coding technologies across the country and in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the American Medical Association. As such, the National Correct Coding Initiative Coding Policy Manual for Medicare Services is updated every year and medical facilities employing outpatient coding measures have to abide by its rules. Professional outpatient coding service providers are aware of these latest guidelines and hence can implement these when encoding outpatient data for hospitals, clinics, and physician practices.
Focusing on Your Tenets
Entrusting the work of outpatient coding to professionals, preferably with remote centralized labs, spares medical facilities the hassle of setting up the necessary infrastructure within their premises, keep it updated with the latest tools, and also maintain a dedicated workforce to carry out these specialized services. By outsourcing the work to professional outpatient coding service providers, medical facilities can thus concentrate on providing and improving on their core competencies.
However, many hospitals and medical facilities do choose to employ outpatient coding professionals on their payroll but it is not always possible for these establishments to keep their staff updated on the latest rules, regulations, and technologies. There are however, many outpatient coding service providers who take on the onus of providing relevant coding tutorials to keep the workers updated. The service providers also conduct training sessions to help prepare the staff for the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) examination of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
Professional outpatient coding service providers also carry out audits of the coding system in place in a particular medical facility to ensure that it adheres to the latest coding regulations and best practices and also suggest changes to harness the advances in technology.
A Pivotal Medical Responsibility
Thus if you run a hospital or any other medical facility, you must have realized by now the immense advantages of entrusting the work of outpatient coding to professionals. Call one now to spare yourself the headaches of carrying out this complex task yourself.
For more information about our Medical Coding Services and Medical Coder positions, contact Professional Dynamic Network. By email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at: 1-708-747-4361.