Are your physicians expert coders? For most physicians, the answer is no; and trying to make a physician an expert coder is typically a bad idea: bad for the patient, bad for physician productivity, and bad for the revenue cycle. This is why medical practices have a billing team, or at least a biller, employed to assist with and maximize physician revenue. In today’s turbulent environment, it is imperative that coding and billing be not only correct, but efficient in order to enhance the revenue cycle.
Doctors’ biggest concern is taking care of patients. Physicians should be able to provide basic information about patient encounter as easily as possible; the billing specialists and coders should make any necessary corrections to the claim.
However, in most practices, a physician is ultimately responsible for cleanly coded claims just as he is ultimately responsible for his patient’s care. Physicians should be relied upon for E&M coding; they are the medical professionals spending time with patients and administering care, so they should be in the best position to document the amount of time and level of care that was given. Additional coding (e.g., CPT and ICD-9 codes and modifiers that have to be customized per payor), however, should be monitored post encounter (after the physician has completed the patient encounter) but early on in the revenue cycle management process.
Post Encounter Coding in mHealth
Post encounter coding is particularly helpful for doctors during hospital rounds. Mobile charge capture devices should allow for a doctor to document what he did, but leave the intricate coding details to the back office billing staff. Using a mobile device for charge capture allows physicians to quickly and easily capture charge data and transmit to the biller for post encounter coding.
AccelaMOBILE helps doctors easily manage the charges that are generated outside of the office setting (e.g., hospital, surgery center, nursing home) and allows the billing staff to quickly and easily manage and post these charges. With AccelaMOBILE, doctors and staff work how they want to work by using mobile devices, tablets, laptops, and desktops (their choice) to manage, capture, and review charges. Lost and incomplete charges are dramatically reduced. The billing process speeds up. Your doctors are allowed to do their job without the burden of also being a coder.