Covid-19 brought about a 360-degree change in the medical coding industry. Hospital administrators are having a difficult time managing and accommodating the changes. Medical coding space is one department to see a massive transformation – a higher number of charts, new codes, and digitization- all happening at the same time.
All of these, point to an increased usage of the ICD segments and therefore its rapid growth.
Here are three emerging trends in the medical coding industry:
ICD (International Classification of Diseases) is the largest segment and is expected to grow over the next 5 years
Covid-19 has increased the load on the global healthcare systems. With an increasing number of patients and diseases, ICD codes are also increasing.
For instance: the World Health Organization (WHO), activated emergency codes for COVID-19 for the co-diagnosis of COVID-19, and clinical or epidemiological diagnosis (suspected or probable) of COVID-19 in Feb. 2020
The ICD-11 version contains 55,000 unique codes for diseases, death causes, and injuries.
Further, the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), states that innumerable service providers, injectable drugs, and supplies are yet to be tracked. With medical coding tasks, they become trackable.
Promising medical coding solutions like MEDICODIO augment medical coding’s capabilities to streamline and standardize documentation across facilities.
Outsourcing the entire medical coding and billing to RCM companies
The heightened pressure on the healthcare system points to two more trends:
- The rising need for skilled coders: Increased pressure on the healthcare system means a larger number of codes. This means a larger coding department to process codes correctly and efficiently. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2021 stated that the number of positions for medical records and health information specialists, including medical coders, would increase to 37,000, i.e., 9% between 2020 and 2030.
- High pressure on healthcare administrators to manage a coding department: Larger coding departments call for better processes, a skilled workforce, rock-solid systems, and streamlined operations. The truth is, with high volumes of charts and codes, it is difficult to bring in such systems and processes.
This leads to the simplest solution – outsourcing the entire revenue cycle management (RCM) function, which includes the tedious part of medical coding. These RCM companies take care of everything – from patient appointments to claims submission.
Automation in medical coding
The use of AI tools to process charts and suggest the right codes is gaining momentum. And for all the right reasons:
Error-free coding: Coders use manuals to find the right codes and sometimes enter the wrong code. This leads to the denial of claims, impacting the revenue. AI tools are trained to suggest the right codes, leading to better accuracy and a direct increment in revenue.
- Improving efficiency: They reduce the time coders spend finding the right code. AI-driven tools are the right bridge between building a huge team of coders and outsourcing the RCM function. You don’t need a big team, and you don’t need to outsource, yet you are efficient and cheaper than both.
With such challenges, coders are looking for a solution to make medical coding efficient, reduce revenue turndown due to errors, and decrease the load off the hospital system.
A perfect solution here is AI-powered medical coding tools like MEDICODIO.
MEDICODIO is an AI-powered coding tool that reduces medical coding costs and improves efficiency by up to 45%. A great fit for RCM companies and hospital billing departments, Codio suggests medical codes (CPT, ICD10, HCPCS, modifiers) by reading patient demographic info from EHR systems and Physician Notes/Chart. After the medical coder makes a selection from the list of suggested codes, CODIO sends your codes to the billing system.