Will The Medical Coder Be Replaced By A Computer?!?

Computers and artificial intelligence (AI) have had a tremendous impact in all aspects of our daily lives. One major area impacted by the computer and its existence is the medical field.


Computers assist all medical professionals in their everyday work routine, but will a computer replace medical professionals?

As stated above computers and AI are in every aspect of the medical field; ranging from registering patients when they come in for a visit (verifying insurance information and demographics) all the way to the billing process. But no need to fear, AI and the computer will not replace the medical professional; it is time to embrace and utilize AI and computers to the best of their abilities.

With the implementation of the “Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH)” the Department of Health and Human Services had some medical professionals (coders and billers) worried that they will be replaced. One of the intentions of HITECH was to compel facilities and providers to implement some type of EMR (electronic medical record) system in order to streamline the billing process, payments, and documentation requirements. With the creation of HITECH also came along monetary incentives from the federal government and in turn a flood of new EMR companies. The selling point of these new EMR companies was to save the providers and facilities money by eliminating the need for coders and billers.

Unfortunately for the EMR companies, the implementation did not quite pan out the way they had anticipated. Because these new EMR systems needed to be built with information for them to function, coders and billers were still needed. After these EMR systems were up and running more positions were created; coders were needed to audit and set-up the new systems as well as train physicians how to transfer all of their paper documentation into an EMR system.

Contrary to what most believed 10 years ago, the medical coder/administrative staff will not be replaced by a computer or AI. Fast forward to today and the medical coding profession has tripled in need. For example, one of the original methods of AI is computer-assisted coding (CAC). CAC brought to light the ability for computers to instantly code and bill a visit to the insurance as soon as the encounter was completed. However, the CAC technology has not completely emerged as originally intended but has done some good. Among other things, CAC does assist in applying modifiers and running coding edits, therefore allowing coders and billers to focus their skills on other elements of the revenue cycle (denials, appeals).

As you can clearly see computers and AI will not replace the medical coder or biller. Computers and AI have an unlimited amount of information and it is now time to make them your best friend; a world of knowledge at your fingertips. Using computers and AI to assist you with your daily work flow will help you efficiently complete your task; utilize computers and AI to the best of their abilities and you will be the star of your company.