Technological advancements have impacted a lot of industries and jobs tremendously and with the appropriate use of technology, various jobs become easier to perform. However, it is often seen that, over a period of time, the reliance on technology increases and responsibilities of a job are taken care of by technology, creating a situation, where the need for full-time employees decreases. We often come across various news articles that talk about the possibility of losing millions of jobs due to automation. Medical coding is also one of the several jobs that have been impacted by automation and people who have chosen this as a career are worried that their jobs are at stake.
Is Medical Coding Career Dying?
No, medical coding is definitely not a fading career. Technology and artificial intelligence are indeed bringing about enormous changes to the medical coding profession, however, medical coding is a high-skill and human-intelligence-based profession. For accurate medical coding reports, there’s a high need for human analytical skills. But, it is also imperative that the current and aspiring coders should learn how to use technology to their best use and minimize the time spent on routine tasks.
Although medical coders have been specializing in specific areas for a long time, the demand is consistently rising for specialist coders and there is a great scope for market growth for such specialists. The nuances of various specialities and picking up relevant information from vast and detailed records require human analytical skills that are not possible with only technology-based coding.
Also, medical coders work extensively with protected health information (PHI) to communicate accurately with insurance companies. It is well understood that coders working with protected health information need to be completely familiar with and compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and thereby require having in-depth knowledge of HIPAA. Only human intelligence can balance the coding requirements and HIPAA compliance to provide timely and accurate coding inputs for medical billers and help prevent and reduce medical claim rejections and denials.
The major factor that influences the need for medical coders is that several grey areas cannot be classified under ICD codes uniformly by different coders. Medical coders use their analysis and judgment based on the information available to them and different coders can code the same procedure in different ways with a reasonable explanation. There are some issues that technology cannot solve aptly because some rules are contradictory, some descriptions are vague, and some instructions use soft language. The medical coding field is more related to the art of analyzing and interpreting than the mere science of applying codes rigidly.
Another factor that contributes to the choosing of medical coders over automation is that policies and regulations related to medical coding change frequently and only a human mind can figure out the exact and relevant policies and regulations while coding for accuracy.
So, although there is a scope for technology to take over human intervention in the medical coding field, there are still some aspects/issues that cannot be resolved with the currently available technological knowledge. It may take nearly two decades for technology to advance to a point where software programs are developed that can do medical coding without the involvement of a human brain and when an organization does not need a medical coder for its coding purposes. Hence, it can be said that medical coding will stay for some more time and aspirants can definitely choose a career in medical coding without any apprehensions. Avontix is one of the best medical coding companies in Hyderabad that offer excellent training and growth opportunities to its employees.