Can a medical coder fulfill the role of an inpatient CDI? Yes, a seasoned, credentialed coder can.
A seasoned, credentialed coder has the skills necessary to see the story of a patient. These high-level coders investigate, analyze and problem solve. These are not just people who apply codes- they take ownership of the record.
Yes, a Coder Can!
They ensure their coding is compliant, accurate as well as to the highest specificity available. They ensure the documentation is sufficient to support the most optimal DRG assignment. Their experience comes from the knowledge of diseases and their processes as well as reviewing the patient’s signs and symptoms and thus starting the journey of discovering what examinations took place, what treatments were provided, etc.
The experienced medical coder has gained this insight by working with a wide range of charts from the most simple to the highly complex. Coding is not just opening a book and selecting a code; it is the understanding of coding guidelines and coding rules combined with the clinical aspect of a disease. Coding is also understanding when there is the need for further documentation. AHIMA or AAPC certified medical coders know how to meet this need by constructing a compliant query to communicate with the physicians. Coders with this expertise can certainly fulfill the role of a CDI specialist.
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