Remote medical coding is coding that is done at a different facility than the doctor’s office, hospital, or other medical location. Often the patient’s medical records are faxed or sent to the coder’s location where they are scanned into a computer and coded using coding software. This is considered “outsourcing.” It may be done by independent freelance medical coders (for example coders that have started their own home businesses) or by coding companies that specialize in remote work. Often these companies handle many aspects of the medical administration and include coding, billing, and transcription all in one package.
Outsourcing is a popular trend in many business situations these days. Medical coding is no exception. Many medical practices are turning increasingly to medical coding for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons for this trend are listed below:
Remote medical coding cuts down on costs associated with hiring employees. Any company that seeks to hire in house personal must expend time and resources to find those personnel. They must pay recruiters, interviewers, administrative personnel and others to process new employees. This is all paid time, and the longer it takes, the more it can cost a company. Finding a qualified medical coder represents time, effort, and dollars on the part of a medical practice or insurance company. Remote medical coding eliminates much of this extra expense.
Remote medical coding saves space. Office space is an important aspect of the smooth functioning of a medical facility. The productivity of administrative staff is enhanced by a good work environment. Moreover in some cases extra personnel would actually require a move to a larger and more expensive office location. Having coding done remotely insures that the practice will need no extra physical space and that the space it does have is easy and pleasant to work in.
Scheduling problems are eliminated by remote medical coding. Often medical facilities that don’t employ their own coders use outside coders who come to the office location on an as-needed basis. Remote coding does away with many of the time restraints associated with scheduling in these cases. A simple internet connection is all that is needed for a remote coder or coding service to receive medical records for coding and return them, often within a short time.
Increased cash flow. Remote medical coding, by reducing these and other costs, tends to increase cash flow. There are quick turnaround times and that allows billers to submit claims to insurance companies sooner and the claims being paid in a more timely fashion.
Access to a larger pool of employees. Since a medical institution or insurance company does not need to settle on only one or several permanent coders, they have access to a large pool of expertise. They can elect to use one or several different remote coding services for various projects or hire more freelance type coders for specific projects.
So this all means that if you’re in the medical profession as a provider, remote coding is something to seriously consider. And if you’re a coder yourself, trying to find remote work is also promising as a career area. Both sides of the equation are looking to increase their contact.
The need for medical coders in general is on the rise. The U.S. department of labor estimates that overall demand for medical records and health information technicians, of which medical coders are a subset, will increase 18% by 2016. Often larger employers have much of the HIPAA procedures and information systems already set up that make remote coding easy and convenient.
For all these reasons, remote medical coding is beginning to look more and more like the wave of the future. Outsourcing in general as a business structure and strategy is on the rise due to the increasingly fast paced and mobile nature of the business world. Both health care providers and medical records processing professionals would do well to look into this as a potential business solution if they want to stay progressive and competitive.