Why in the World Do We Fear Coding?

Updated: Feb 11, 2020

Good question! But we most certainly do. I did, for a long time. There were many reasons I feared coding. It seemed complicated. It was confusing. It doesn’t have anything to do with direct patient care. It wasn’t why I joined the medical world. But my guess is the reason most doctors and providers fear coding so much is due to….

wait for it….

a lack of KNOWLEDGE.

We have expertise level knowledge in our chosen fields. We like to be in control. And nothing made me feel like a novice and out of control more than trying to learn medical coding on my own. We fear what we don’t know and understand. And there was a lot I didn’t know or understand before I decided to learn medical coding.

Juliann Schaeffer describes it best:

"The most common cause of poor documentation is a lack of understanding of the specific information that needs to be included for coding purposes. Physicians tend to document a lot of information; however, due to a lack of education, they do not use the words needed to provide the highest level of specificity. “

See the full article here.

We are experts at documenting for medical purposes, but novices at documenting for coding purposes.

Great! So what? Why should I care if I’m terrible at documenting for coding?

Well, for me, it came down to time. I undercoded most of my visits and realized how much of my own time I was losing. Under coding means I was doing all the history, exam and medical decision making of a level 4 or level 5 patient, but I wasn’t documenting the correct things in my chart for coding purposes. So, I would do the work, take on the risk, evaluate and manage a level 4 or level 5 patient, but was getting reimbursed far less than I should. This meant I was working longer hours and seeing more and more patients and still struggling to get my reimbursement correct. Documenting appropriately for coding purposes allowed me to generate more revenue while seeing less patients. This meant I could work less and get paid more. Good things happen when you finally start documenting things correctly! It’s why the decision to learn medical billing and coding is so pivotal.

David Doyle talks about this very thing in a article for the Healthcare Business Management Association where he says that “downcoding can cost a single doctor $40,000 in lost revenue each year”

That’s real money! That’s a big raise! That’s not having to work 6 days a week! That’s some freedom!

And it’s that realization that motivated me to get over my fear and learn about coding. That’s what I did.

If you are interested in learning how to change your life, increase your free time, increase your revenue for yourself or your practice, we can help. Take the first step forward in your quest to learn medical billing and coding today!


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