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    Trends Impacting the Medical Billing & Coding Field

    Medical billing and coding is a fast-paced, critical role within the healthcare sector. It transforms all aspects of healthcare into medical alphanumerical codes in order to record and report on figures and trends. The associated technology and surrounding health policies have a huge impact on the medical coding job role, meaning it’s best suited for an individual who can keep up to date with the inevitable changes. From The Affordable Care Act to CPT Code Updates, we’ll explore some of these changes in more detail below.

    Trends

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics has published a report on medical trends that show healthcare jobs are on the rise, which is particularly exciting for those interested in pursuing a career in medical coding. Healthcare related occupations in general are expected to increase significantly before 2022, with an extra 15.6 million jobs predicted to be created. Advancing technology makes medical coding a growing profession in itself, and an exciting one, as well. Now let’s look at some of the trends impacting this profession.

    The Affordable Care Act

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) plays a role in the growing demand for healthcare services across the country. More and more people are now eligible for certain types of healthcare under the Act, which means medical billing and coding is required in larger numbers to process the figures and ensure billing is handled properly.

    In order to make sure that these administrative procedures are completed efficiently, the ACA has put in place a number of strict rules requiring healthcare companies to uphold stringent record keeping and reporting. There are also some fresh rules in relation to proper documentation of issues, such as joint replacement surgery. In this instance, the records need to explain the preventative steps that have been taken prior to the surgery and why it is now necessary.

    A medical coder keeps track of each procedure and makes sure there's transparency with the insurance company. A medical billing and coding student will need to familiarize themselves with these evolving procedures and be trained in a way that can help them cope with the growing demands of the profession.

    ICD-10 Transition

    There's been an exciting change in medical coding systems, as well. The transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is a big deal. The two systems are vastly different. While ICD-9 contains 3,824 procedure codes and 14,025 diagnosis codes, there are a total of 71,924 procedure codes and 69,823 diagnosis codes on the ICD-10. This means the job role is always expanding and changing in new and interesting ways. For students, this means there's now more options and coding procedures than ever before to complete complex tasks. It also means that completing a medical coding course will introduce the student to the latest technology – something that will prove to be critical for future career progression.

    CPT Code Updates

    Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes are terms that medical coders use when reporting procedures and services. There are thousands of CPT codes that can be used to describe certain processes, but these do evolve. CPT codes are often updated and changed. One example is that of CPT Category III codes, which are altered every 6 months. The frequency of these updates means that it is critical that a medical coder has the most recent knowledge. If they don’t, they won’t be able to communicate effectively. Failure to learn the new codes can lead to delays and a risk to patients and hospital welfare. A student will be able to learn the most recent medical codes and create methods whereby learning future codes becomes easier to manage.

    How to Prepare for Success in Medical Billing and Coding

    Medical coding and billing is a fast paced, regularly changing job that requires attention and adaptability. It is firstly important to become familiar with ICD-10, the latest coding technology, and become comfortable using the extra thousands of codes now available. It is also important to become a pro at using the EHR systems. These systems facilitate accurate reporting and help ensure a better overall patient experience. A credential that is up-to-date and relevant to medical coding is also highly desirable, as it demonstrates a thorough and current knowledge of the job. This is why pursuing higher education for career development is incredibly useful for medical coders.

    As the healthcare industry changes, the job roles within it need to adapt rapidly and efficiently. Medical coding is no exception, and it is clear that this evolving job role is best suited to an adaptable and keen person who is willing to learn new skills throughout their career. Keeping up to date with the latest healthcare trends, coding systems, and coding language is critical, as this ensures the very best delivery of administration and patient care.

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