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Home » 4 Challenges Of Medical Coding And Why It’s Worth The Effort

4 Challenges Of Medical Coding And Why It’s Worth The Effort

    Nothing worth doing is ever all that easy

    Medical coding, which is the system used for medical and billing purposes in healthcare, is no exception. It’s a challenging career path that demands a tremendous amount of attention to detail. 

    You must have a regimented commitment to mastering the craft. However, if you’re willing to go the length, you’ll find a stable and stimulating job waiting for you on the other side. And now, thanks to modern technologies like Hiteks’ ICD-10 compliant CAPD360 Insight Real-Time Medical Documentation Improvement Software, equipped with Case Mix Index Optimization capacities and a Medical Diagnosis Calculator that can automatically calculate the risk adjustment factor score on a case-by-case basis, coding is easier than ever. There’s never been a better time to be a coder. But before you jump into the deep end, here are a few things you need to know about the job.

    Distinguishing Grey Areas

    One of the trickiest aspects of the job is applying a binary mindset to complex scenarios. Rarely is a patient’s condition as simple as it looks on paper. The coder’s job is to take a vague collection of symptoms, medical history and past treatments. The coder then has to translate that into a concrete collection of codes. Then they send that translation to the billing department for processing. These are the kinds of things that require the presence of a trained professional to apply reason where there is nuance. 

    Learning the Codes

    ICD-10, in the United States, has over 70,000 separate codes. The new updates to the ICD-10-CM code system for 2023 include 1176 new billable healthcare codes for areas such as social determinants of health (SDoH), dementia, maternal care, and pregnancy. Moreover, 251 codes will be deleted, 35 code descriptors will be revised, and 36 codes will be converted to parent codes. The changes go into effect Oct. 1, 2023

    Hence why training to become a medical coder takes longer than just a single course. Instead, it’s a two year immersion in medical terminology and the adjacent coding that goes with it. It can be fascinating for those interested in medicine, but it is not an endeavor to be taken lightly.

    Medical coders diligently review medical records daily, assigning pertinent codes to ensure that the healthcare providers they assist are adequately compensated for their services. Both physicians and hospitals rely on precise coding to secure appropriate reimbursement, thereby establishing the coder’s role as highly valuable.

    Immaculate Attention to Detail

    The hardest phase is the beginning when you’re still familiarizing yourself with the codes and terminology while also having to think critically so that you can organize them accordingly. It’s enjoyable working to solve the puzzle. The process of combining different information drawn from descriptions and doctors’ notes, ultimately arriving at a final code is stimulating. Just keep in mind that it will be a bit tricky in the beginning.

    Keeping Up On Changes

    Understanding an assortment of codes, conditions, anatomy, and other technical terminology is difficult. The fact that it is in constant evolution adds an additional obstacle. ICD-10 codes are regulated and updated practically every year. That creates a wide margin for human error. This is why the assistance of HITEKS’ Real-Time software can make such a significant difference for all parties involved. With our software, coders will be able to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. This will cut out the margin for human error and speed up the process.

    Coding is for those who have an interest in working in the medical industry and have a knack for detail. It’s a great line of work and it has never been a more accessible career than in 2023.