Finally, technology is on the forefront that dramatically changes the medical coding process within the health information management niche.   The culprit – computer assisted coding or CAC.  Computer assisted coding is a cutting edge practice that automatically derives medical codes within clinical documentation.

Healthcare organizations are now able to streamline revenue cycling processes due to CAC while becoming increasingly more compliant with the requirements of payer and quality reporting.  While electronic health records produce a complex source of documentation electronically, these types of systems can be hard to integrate within the coding process.  This is where the computer assisted coding process comes in and takes over.  The benefits are vast, as the bridge between electronic medical records and transcription, along with the financial systems in healthcare is created.

Many in the healthcare field were concerned that professional coders would no longer be needed as the computer assisted coding technology was presented.  However, this is not the case.  CAC does not eliminate the need of professional medical coders, and these individuals must remain involved within the coding process. The coders may not be doing as much coding as was done in the past, but they are needed to review productivity and accuracy.

In today’s healthcare, computer assisted coding is being widely used for physician and outpatient services.  The momentum of coding applications is gaining momentum that surpasses previous years.  Some of the reasons for this growth are the significant benefits that computer assisted coding offers.  Below are just some of the benefits CAC provides:

•    Improved Accuracy
There is a significant improvement in accuracy that can be seen through a rate of denials decrease, reduction in auditing discrepancies and a reduction in finding lost charges.  Increasing the rate of accuracy helps the organization capture charges that would otherwise be lost.

•    Improved Compliance
CAC strives to get it right the first time and as a result is highly proactive when it comes to compliance.  Since coding is accurate and consistent, work time and rebilling is reduced as a result, compliance is constant.

•    Improved Consistency
Consistency is a must throughout the coding process.  Without consistency that ensures guidelines are met, problems arise.  Consistency instills confidence in the coding process and provides more accurate results for both clinical and financial analysis.  When more than one coder is working on the piece consistency is extremely important.  This can be especially true when there are several coders that have different levels of experience or varying skills.

•    Improved Productivity
As productivity time increases, the time required for coding also increases.  There is no lag time within the coding process and thanks to the CAC productivity can be improved significantly.  Manual tasks can be eliminated or sped up due to the implementation of computer assisted coding.

•    Improved Traceability
Traceability also refers to transparency, which is a key benefit of the computer assisted coding technology.  Manageability can be enhanced by the coding process as both work flow and results are improved.