A Case for Autonomous Coding versus Computer-assisted Coding
Prior to 1980, coding was a paper-based, time-consuming, error-prone, and inefficient process with limited practical alternatives. This soon changed with the 1980s technology boom, which brought about a protracted shift to ICD-10-CM/PCS and fundamentally changed the process and scale of gathering and managing patient data.
It is essential to draw a distinction between simple, primitive solutions like computer-assisted coding (CAC) and true automation. CAC tools primarily affect productivity and workflow, but fail to completely automate the processes. On the contrary, autonomous coding emulates human intelligence by combining large datasets with computational power and sophisticated algorithms, enabling the coders to instead address more complex RCM concerns.
CAC has proven successful in highly structured and smaller records, such as radiological tests, laboratory exams, and emergency room visits, but delivers inefficient results with larger records. On the other hand, autonomous coding has shown demonstrable results in radiology, primary care, emergency, urgent care, pathology, and other high-volume outpatient encounters. Vaccines, cardiac rehab, gastrointestinal, women's health, and outpatient therapies, are other areas with the potential to be future case types for autonomous coding.
The implementation of the CAC software can often be challenging. Subsequently, the coding specialists are also required to receive training on operating the software and must modify their existing coding procedures to conform to the new CAC workflow. In contrast, the autonomous coding software can be seamlessly implemented into the existing workflow without any modification or human intervention.
Clinical notes are often unstructured, with complex medical terminology and spelling errors. Another notable disadvantage of CAC is the inability to decipher and translate such free text into precise medical codes, resulting in error-prone, inaccurate, and unreliable coding suggestions. Autonomous coding’s robust, cutting-edge technology is the complete solution for an impressive return on investment, a streamlined revenue cycle, error-free coding, improved accuracy, and increased efficiency in the complex medical coding industry.
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