Medical coding is a system of transforming descriptions of injuries, diseases, and other healthcare procedures into codes. Medical coding changes the written narratives of procedures that were performed to numbers that are called code numbers. It also uses coding to explain which procedures were performed. Tests that are ordered and their results are also coded with this system. These codes basically show the reason why a person sought medical treatment from a healthcare facility. They also provide a quick synopsis of the patient’s health history with just a glance at the codes for physicians and healthcare workers who are trained in this method.
Medical codes provide information regarding the diagnoses and procedures that occurred at a particular time and place. These codes protect patients who have special health concerns by notifying other doctors and healthcare professionals that they are allergic to a particular drug, or that they have a certain health problem. The codes are also used for billing purposes. Hospitals and doctors use these codes to track and record the procedures that they charge for on a patient’s bill.
Workers who use medical coding for billing must be trained to use the codes in exactly the right way. They must know how to interpret the written narrative and how to convert it to the appropriate code or codes. A medical coder must first attend a medical coding school before beginning a job in this field. Most medical coders earn an Associate’s Degree to qualify for this position. Entering the proper codes is very important to healthcare providers who depend on being paid for the services that they have provided. They entrust their billing to the medical coder who will ensure that the patient is billed for all of the services that were rendered. Medical coders use classification systems software. Different coding systems are usually used for long-term care, doctor’s offices, or hospitals.
Medical coding involves communication between the medical coder and physicians and other healthcare providers. This may occur if the medical coder is not sure if the narrative material written by the doctor is complete or if it cannot be read or interpreted. In addition, the medical coder may need to know if the doctor ordered certain diagnostic tests, and if so, what the results of the tests were.
Hospital records must be maintained 24 hours a day, 7 days each week. Medical coding may take place at all times during the week, or at some hospitals, medical coders work a 5 day week, completing 7 days of treatment. The same universal codes are used in doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals.
Medical coding also allows healthcare professionals, government, and others to study trends in illnesses in groups, such as flu outbreaks or new cases of cancer that are diagnosed in certain geographical locations. This information can be located very quickly since it takes only minutes to look at the codes, whereas it would take many hours to read the narrative records that doctors and healthcare professionals have written, making research easy for those who want to have quick access to medical records.
Medical coding is also useful to doctors in treating individual patients. It makes it easy for them to see the patient’s history at a glance. They can see which tests have been done, the results of these tests, and other information that can guide them in the current treatment that a patient gets. Rather than reading through a thick medical file, they merely need to glance at the codes to see the person’s medical history.
This way of recording medical procedures is a definite advancement to the medical field because it simplifies the long and complex narrative records that are kept in healthcare facilities.