“Almost all quality improvement comes via simplification of design, manufacturing, layout, processes and procedures” – Tom Peters
Human knowledge and advancements in technology are doing wonders for mankind and businesses everywhere. The medical and healthcare industry has been an equal beneficiary of these innovations and developments.
This respective industry holds enormous importance to people around the world because it has an emotional aspect related to it due to the service it renders in relieving the pains and diseases that humanity suffers from across the globe and humans are helping themselves become more efficient in this field by building tools and techniques that are no short of technological marvels.
Computer assisted coding software is one small part of these revolutions. These systems are designed to generate and assign product or procedure related codes to respective clinical documents allowing accurate analysis and interpretation of these files besides a host of other seamless operations. The first coding systems were introduced way back in the 1800s when there was no concept of computers let alone the availability of computer assisted systems. Since then however, professionals have come a long way in improving the way this simple operation is executed.
The healthcare industry in the US alone was worth $3 trillion dollars by 2011 already with promising annual growth figures. 7 years on, the industry has grown tremendously and so has the entourage that comes with it. One important part of this is the documentation that has to accompany every medicine, every patient and even every surgical tool that is every produced or admitted to a healthcare facility. This translates to an enormous task that becomes a nuisance to handle manually.
Enter Computer Assisted Coding or CAC softwares. These programs effectively sift through and present any codes embedded in these files allowing processing to become a much simpler process.
There has been much debate over the past few years about the potential benefits and drawbacks of these systems. Experts have discussed the implications that these tools bring with them and numerous conclusions have been drawn but one thing that has remained common in their findings is the fact that the technology is here to stay.
This post therefore sheds light on what is in store for organizations that utilize these programs and for the software themselves in general.
The benefits of Computer Assisted Coding Software
We begin the discussion by highlighting some of the significant advantages of implementing these systems in to the normal workflows of any healthcare organizations. These benefits draw an elaborate picture of the usefulness and in turn the expectations that can be levied from these tools.
With the industry growing with leaps and bounds manual coding according to industry specific rules and regulations is a ginormous task that can take its toll on coders essentially. CAC systems lighten the stress and load on these professionals doing much of the work for them and that too intelligently.Statistics from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) show that coders that use coding softwares spend around 22% less time on these operations as compared to others that don’t. In the real world, this translates to a substantial investment and return in term of saved resources.
- Ability to save precious resources
As we’ve highlighted briefly in the earlier section, computer-assisted coding softwares contribute to the preservation of a number of resources for the respective organization. We use the term resources because the savings encompass a number of crucial elements like human resources, time and money. CAC’s are able to pick out codes in bundles of documents effectively and can even differentiate instances where they need to filter a specific term or not. This cuts the amount of time and funds that are spent by and on coders in order to perform these tasks manually.
- Increased productivity
Connecting the dots by seamlessly flowing from one benefit to the other, productivity comes next in line. Humans have the ability to tire and falter when presented with the task of performing the same function repeatedly over long periods of time.
This results in a drop in their productivity. CAC’s step in and fill these gaps quite optimally, easing the load on the coders themselves by taking a large chunk of the tiring process of their hands allowing them to preserve their energies for the tasks that matter more.
- Precision monitoring, tracking and analysis
CAC’s are intelligently designed to perform a variety of functions besides just picking codes from patient and other clinical documents. They can provide precise analytics as well as file traceability. They can also differentiate between where in a document a particular term is relevant to the purpose and where it is not.This can be incredibly important because patient reports usually contain references to a specific word in a number of contexts, for example, the name of a disease can be part of the diagnosis as well as the patient history but is only coded once where it is given in the prescription. The Computer Assisted Coding systems possess the capability to tell these apart quite effectively.
- Helps you avoid numerous hassles
Errors and delays are common when documentations are concerned. Couple this with the strict regulation standards that each organization has to comply with and the difficulty levels increase manifold. This is where problems and issues take place.The joy of having CAC’s mean that there are much lower chances of getting things wrong because computer based programs are mostly accurate at what they do allowing organizations to produce industry compliant documents at the click of a few buttons.
- External and internal communications are more productive
With appropriately prepared and coded files that ease clinical and healthcare procedures, communications with the facility and between different organizations becomes quite effortless as it gives one format to all the files allowing everyone to get accustomed to finding the relevant information in them within a small amount of time.
- Secure data management
Modern technology is quite safe and reliable when it comes to security provided that they are developed appropriately. This means that all the data remains confidential and so do the results that organizations derive from them. This is extremely important because of the nature of information that healthcare facilities and organizations handle.
The future outlook of CAC Software
Technology assistance is only expected to increase with every passing day and ones that have enormous benefits are touted to become inseparable parts of daily human life and businesses. It is a similar case with CAC’s because their potential advantages quite considerably outweigh their drawbacks.
More and more organizations are now embracing the concept of automation and jumping on the bandwagon of adopting and implementing these softwares for simplifying and taking the load off the coders.
An important aspect to consider here is the fact that these systems are not designed to work autonomously, therefore the backing of an experienced coder is still an absolute necessity.
Statistics have revealed results to support this fact because organizations have reported greater and more precise operations in instances where they have utilized a balanced combination of a well designed Computer-Assisted Coding Software along with a professional coder.
Hence, the final word remains that CAC’s are quite effective with numerous benefits towards the day to day operations of businesses.
It is important, therefore, that these systems be considered by healthcare professionals who don’t already use them.