Medical coding is a touchy subject. On one hand, medical coding is necessary to facilitate complex interactions between providers, payers & other healthcare stakeholders. On the other, it’s been a source of frustration or delay at every medical practice.
Manual or paper-based medical coding entails allocating expensive resources to the time-consuming job of assigning alphanumeric codes to medical procedures, diagnoses, & services. Doctors & practice staff spend time reviewing patient records, interpreting medical terminology, & applying the appropriate code sets. It’s easy to see why this process is so prone to data-capturing errors, illegible notes, & mistakes that impact your patients & your practice negatively.
At the same time, the healthcare industry is witnessing a transformative shift with the advent of automation & advanced technologies. Automation in medical coding is a game-changer. With the right digital solution, practices can drastically improve data accuracy right from implementation. The benefit of accuracy alone means that you are much more likely to be paid for your services. Not only will your cash flow & revenue potential improve, but you can also provide safer, more personalised, patient care that is compliant with standards & guidelines.
In this article, we will explore 5 ways automated medical coding can transform medical practices & patient care:
- Increased efficiency: The most obvious benefit of automated medical coding is that it saves valuable time. With the right tools, codes can be generated quickly & accurately while complying with industry standards. This reduces administrative burden; minimises claim denials & rejections & frees up precious time to focus on the patients.
TIP: When vetting medical billing software, coding automation should be included as a standard feature of the solution. It should also include automatic updates to annual medical aid tariff increases and other industry-level changes that impact your billing.
- Faster claim submission & reimbursement: The time & effort involved in manual coding means that it’s often subject to discrepancies, backlog & delay. Automation software swiftly generates accurate codes, so you can submit claims in real time. This efficiency translates to faster payments, boosting your cash flow & creating more capacity to increase your revenue.
TIP: Choose medical billing software that analyses your most commonly used codes to create convenient, easy-to-use templates. Using customisable templates means that you and your staff don’t have to waste time searching for codes, and you don’t lose out on revenue by forgetting to bill for consumables and in-room tests.
- Better Revenue Cycle Management (RCM): Optimising revenue cycle management is a practical way to maintain financial stability. Today’s billing software seamlessly integrates with electronic medical record (EMR) systems, making it easier to capture & translate clinical data into appropriate codes. Automating medical coding streamlines RCM to give you the information you need for better financial planning, resource allocation, & growth plans.
TIP: An integrated clinical and billing solution is ideal to realise the benefits of digitisation. Look for a system that doesn’t require multiple logins to different systems. An integrated system ensures that billing instructions can be sent seamlessly and invoices generated immediately. Double-check that your chosen solution can generate actionable reports about all aspects of your practice.
- Empowered Healthcare Professionals: Automated billing & coding solutions are designed to adhere to the latest coding guidelines & regulations. This is added reassurance that any potential human error will be flagged by the system, ensuring compliance, improved patient safety & data-driven decision support.
TIP: Always opt for user-friendly solutions that are compliant with industry regulations. Ask your potential provider for a track record of client satisfaction. Request a demo of the software and be sure to ask about ongoing support – this should be included in your agreement with your technology partner.
- Patient-Centric Care: Automated coding generates structured & standardised data, which can be used for data analysis & insights. Medical practices have valuable insights into patient populations, treatment outcomes, resource utilisation, & revenue patterns – all at the click of a button. Using your practice data to develop & implement quality improvement initiatives is a wise decision. Not only are you minimising administrative hurdles, but you can focus on building strong patient relationships & improving communication to enhance the overall patient experience.
TIP: Cloud-based medical billing software solutions should be more than just a digital filing cabinet for patient records. Look for solutions that make it easy to communicate with patients. In addition, solutions that have been developed together with clinicians are designed to be intuitive, easy-to-use and sophisticated in their ability to garner valuable insights about your patients and practice. This can help you take proactive steps to be as patient-centric as possible.
Healthcare is a fast-paced & ever-evolving landscape. As technology continues to advance, embracing automation in medical coding is essential to deliver exceptional patient care & run a sustainable practice. Healthbridge’s cloud-based solutions are carefully designed together with clinicians to support you while you focus on what matters most – delivering exceptional care. Contact Healthbridge on email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are ready to transform your private practice for the better.