The Future of Medical Coding

Future of Medical CodingThe need for medical coders is increasing for sure, and over the next ten years it is set to increase by another twenty-percent ( Much faster than originally expected.

The medical coder is accountable for just about every single undertaking connected with getting the provider paid because the information they enter, and the code they submit to the insurance company is what that insurance company processes.  This determines payment for that specific procedure on the patient.  Consequently, the medical coder is vital to the financial welfare of the practice.  If claims are not coded, the practice receives no income.

Just the knowledge of the ICD (International Statistical Classifications of Diseases) codes is invaluable to the physician.   They are alphanumeric codes given to every diagnosis, symptom and cause of death that has anything and everything to do with human beings. (The most recent list of codes in use is ICD-9, however the implementation of ICD-10 is looming).

The link is solid between the healthcare provider and the insurance company, so much so, that they are frequently hired by both.

Coding permits access to health records according to diagnosis and procedures.  The following are only a few important job related duties:

  • Coding identifies symptoms that alert other physicians to any life threatening allergies

  • The reports of a coder are necessary for reimbursement  

  • Medical coders assist with administrative duties

There are sizeable penalties for non-compliance today and providers are being more and more cautious to hire specialized people to manage these issues and to make sure that the practice is always in compliance.  In saying this, medical coders are extremely essential to doctors and nurses with whom they are associated.   

It’s not a secret that there has been more and more scrutiny over medical records by insurance companies and even by the government.  How would the medical field be able to control costs if medical records were not completely accurate?  How would they receive money from Medicare and Medicaid?

The future is bright. 

Naturally, we don’t have a crystal ball to figure out just what place medical coding will have in
the year 2020, but it is easy to guess.  It’s not hard to see that it will grow in employment needs by at least one percent per year.  They are now, and will be in the future, an invaluable piece of the difficult responsibility the physician has to keep in compliance and to run his practice efficiently and effectively.

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