Health Information Management

Tip: Evaluate CAC and software expenses

CDI Strategies, December 1, 2011

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Invest in computer-assisted coding (CAC) now because of its potential positive impact on productivity and quality, says Gloryanne Bryant, RHIA, CCS, CCDS, regional managing director of HIM (Northern California Revenue Cycle) at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. & Hospitals, in Oakland.

CAC “reads” charts to identify diagnoses and/or ­procedures that have the potential to be coded. “That saves us the detailed job of reading every word in the ­medical ­record,” Bryant says. “Not only does it help identify ­potential diagnoses that we would want to capture, but CAC also provides you with particular potential code(s) that are ready for validation.”
 
This shortens the time coders need to code a record, which can help you reduce overtime costs and days in accounts receivable. CAC can also yield ­higher quality and accuracy because the system reads ­every character. People may accidentally skip over pertinent information or be interrupted and inadvertently miss capturing a diagnosis. For example, CAC coding for ancillary services (e.g., radiology, CT scans, or MRI) can achieve 97% accuracy through automation, Bryant says.
 
CAC is not intended to replace coders, Bryant says, particularly in the inpatient arena. "You still have to have a validation process," she says.
 
Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt from October issue of Medical Records Briefing.



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