Medical coding is a technical process which requires a deep understanding of terminology, human anatomy and patient conditions. And, while medical coding is based on a core foundation of principles, ongoing professional development is essential. This is because medical coding professionals should continually acquire clinical knowledge needed in reviewing whether or not patients really have the conditions that are documented in their medical records.
Through clinical review and education, medical coders are empowered to review audit results and learn about common coding errors. By incorporating clinical validation into coding education, coders are trained in how to identify clinical indicators with regard to medical record documentation. Does this seem easier said than done? Here are some best practices for medical coding professional development programming:
- One-hour training sessions. Implementation of regular training sessions allows for coding departments to discuss and learn about common symptoms, diagnosis and laboratory findings for specified conditions.
- Testing of medical coders’ knowledge. After trainings, post gatherings help to test coders’ knowledge and discuss how they’ve applied what they learned in training to their day-to-day coding procedures.
- Regular follow-ups and repeat testing. To reinforce training messages, it’s helpful to use clinicians from your facility to give classes to your coders on new diagnostic and surgical procedures, as well as topics that your coders may want to learn more about. When clinicians are involved in the teaching process, coders will develop a better understanding of the direct correlation between clinical documentation and coding outcomes.
When medical coders make a commitment to learning about clinical validation, they enhance their abilities to perform accurate documentation, identify deficiencies and errors, and stay informed of the latest clinical developments. Improving the medical coding process in this way has several benefits, all of which will positively affect patient care and coding outcomes for your facility.
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