The medical industry is ever-growing with the massive increase in patients and technology. Therefore, the trends in this field will keep updated from time to time. Medical Coding plays a significant role in the healthcare industry.
Medical Coding involves transforming medical procedures, services, diagnoses, and equipment into simple universal, alphanumeric codes to document medical records and medical billing. The details about the diagnosis mainly come from patient medical records, physician’s notes, and lab reports.
Medical coding professionals apply codes and review them to ensure accuracy during a medical billing process. This will allow a more seamless transfer of medical records and more efficient analysis to track patients’ health records.
According to the American Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for medical coders is projected to grow 8% between 2019 and 2029, which is “much faster than average.”
With that being said, new trends keep coming in the medical coding industry. Now, let’s find out the latest trends in the medical coding world and lead in 2022 and beyond.
With the latest trends being introduced, the most successful medical coders will always be flexible and willing to adapt to the changing times. While the scope of medical coding is 15% higher than other average jobs, keeping abreast of the below trends can help you increase demand. So check out these top six medical coding trends you can follow in 2022.
- Process Automation
Like in any other industry, the process is automated in the medical coding industry, too. Automation in the medical industry means automating code assignment, claim submission, adjustment posting, billing edits, or claim status. For many healthcare organizations, automation of medical coding seems helpful as it will automate insurance verification, patient eligibility, and more by deploying automated software bots.
Automation is a trend that won’t go away soon. Automation in Medical Coding may seem to threaten medical coding jobs. It won’t take away the jobs of medical coders, but it will set a higher standard for coder contributions. It will demand medical coders to excel at complex tasks, such as coding complex cases, auditing automated code assignments, etc. So, if you want to be a medical coder, be up for the game, focusing on continuing exposure and education to as many diverse work experiences as possible.
- Use of Blockchain Technology
Being one of the robust technologies used today, Blockchain has rendered an effective solution for the challenges faced in every work sphere, including the medical billing industry.
Medical billing processes are prone to significant billing errors and are undoubtedly complex. Nevertheless, with the help of distributed ledger technology, blockchain technology offers high-end solutions for:
- Incorrect filings
- Billing code errors
- Duplication of processes, etc
Blockchain helps to:
- Create authentic data records which you can share with networked database systems.
- Provide complete transparency through delivering proofs of the executed transactions.
- Ensure data integrity and protect medical data (electronic health records, patient information, from threats/breaches.
Blockchain algorithms are highly encrypted and store data in a format (i.e.chains of blocks) that cannot be modified until all participants over the network verify it reaches the final recipient. Therefore, your medical data is safe.
- COVID-19 Codes
The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly changed the concept of a direct hospital visit to providing medical services via telecommunications and digital platforms. This prompted the medical coding trends to respond soon. New codes are created to track the rapidly emerging procedures and services for COVID detection, treatment, and immunization. As the industry advances, these changes will continue to be integral parts of the healthcare system.
- Transition To New ICD Systems
As the International Classification of Diseases or ICD provides a method of diagnostic codes for classifying diseases, improvement in versions of ICD is always needed with the changing times. The ICD is maintained by the (WHO). The latest ICD version is the ICD-11 version, which substantially improves the ICD-10 version. The ICD-11 has 55,000 unique codes for injuries, diseases, and causes of death compared to 14,400 in ICD-10. This ICD-11 is a global standard version that is effective from January 1, 2022.
Therefore, proper use of these codes rests on the shoulders of professional medical coders. To keep up with the changes in any new system, training is essential. Focusing on continual training beyond certification credits or continuing education units (CEUs) is one trend that is likely to continue.
- Replacement of Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS)
Another significant change is the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule enacted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS website provides more than 10,000 physician services, a fee schedule status indicator, the associated relative value units, and various payment policy indicators needed for payment adjustment (i.e., payment of assistant at surgery, team surgery, bilateral surgery, etc.). It is helpful for physicians and non-practitioners looking for a quick look-up and reference to the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) payment rates. The changes are the first implemented in over ten years and impact payment for the services related to Medicare.
Medical Coding Billing Professionals must keep updated with the payment rates. Trends in reimbursements will adjust fee schedules and change the market response on a short-term basis.
- Regulatory Compliance
If you want to work as a medical coder, you must adhere to HIPAA and other compliance guidelines. The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a federal law that mandates the creation and adherence to national standards for protecting Health Information or PHI.
Keep compliance in mind daily when you are working in this field. HIPAA covers patient confidentiality and also covers electronic medical records. Therefore, medical coders must ensure that the data they’re using is safe and isn’t consumed by someone who doesn’t have proper authorization.
Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) Level 2, ICD-10-CM, and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), all come under the purview of HIPAA.
Medical billers and coders play an integral part in the healthcare industry and form the backbone of medical data and documentation. The current trends in medical coding and billing are constantly evolving, creating the need for ongoing education.
Being informed about these trends and keeping up with any changes is an ongoing education part of your job. With electronic health records at the forefront of the medical coding industry, the demand for medical coding specialists is faster than average for all positions!
Since patients choose hospitals and healthcare institutions that are more convenient and patient-friendly, demands for medical coders are high. The Healthcare industry is a wise choice that can provide you with a rewarding career. So, get started your career as a medical coding professional in this fastest-growing industry.
GreenBills provides medical billing, coding, and collections services to No-Fault, Workers’ Compensation and Private Claims medical professionals. If you have a question about medical billing, coding, or collections, contact GreenBills, today.
Written by Tasneem Suhail
Tasneem Suhail is an English Exam Trainer with 11 years of experience with Time Training Institute Abu Dhabi. She loves teaching and prepares engaging and individual classes to ensure that students make the progress they wish.
She loves to travel and finds her time in learning new things. During her free time, she engages herself in bibliophilia, solving sudoku and Rubik’s cube.