Medical coding, as well as medical transcription, are two significant processes for any healthcare practice. When we talk about medical coding, it is a process in which the coders convert patient-physician interaction (medical records) into codes. But the question is, how do medical billers and coders get the information? This is where the medical transcriptionists come in! Let’s learn about the key differences between a medical coder/biller and a medical transcriptionist.
So the answer to the question; is medical transcription vs. medical coding, which is better? Both are essential processes for any healthcare practice.
What are medical billing and coding?
Medical billing and coding is a critical process in a healthcare practice’s revenue cycle and financial management. This process involves submitting medical claims to the insurance payers for reimbursements using the standard coding systems (CPT, HCPCS, & ICD-10). In order to simplify the payment process, standard and recognizable codes are assigned to the patient information. These codes are used for procedures or services performed, diagnosis of the patient, and the medical supplies used. Moreover, medical codes also represent the time duration along with the place of service.
Medical billers and coders are the ones responsible for translating the information into their specific and corresponding codes. This translation must be done by following the coding guidelines provided by the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and the requirements of each insurance payer.
What is medical transcription?
Medical transcription or MT is a process involving transcribing or turning the audio and video recording of patient-physician interaction into written documents. The healthcare physician, nurse, or any other healthcare provider dictates these medical reports to the medical transcriptionist. These specialists have to work side-by-side with the healthcare physicians. The medical notes contain everything from diagnosis and clinical summaries to the services or procedures. Steps in medical transcription include:
- Medical professional dictation
- Transmitting voice files
- Transcribing the voice files into text
- Editing the transcribed files
- Sending the edited transcribed files.
The conversion is done for medical claims, hospital/physician records, or patients’ medical charts. Several different kinds of devices are used to record patient-physician interaction.
Following are the common skills required for a medical transcriptionist:
- Good listening skills
- Understanding and knowledge about medical terminologies
- Excellent typing or grammar skills
- Ability to identify misinformation
Difference between medical transcriptionist & medical coding:
|Medical Coding||Medical Transcription|
|Medical coding involves using the patient medical records and translating them into corresponding codes (CPT, HCPCS, ICD-10) for reimbursement purposes.||Medical transcription, as the word suggests, involves creating the patient’s written medical records based on the patient-physician encounter/consultation. It involves converting the lab results by professionals into written documentation.|
|Involves the use of alphanumeric codes to convert the information into a medical claim – database for coding.||Involves audio and video recording or interaction with the physician for translating the recordings into medical records/documents (written).|
|Medical coding is an essential process for a healthcare practice.||Medical transcriptionists might also act in a quality control role. They make sure that consultations are being conducted, following the regulations.|
|Medical coders can barely work from home.||Medical transcriptionists can work from home.|
Medical Transcriptionist Vs. Medical Billing and Coding:
There are several key differences between medical coders and medical transcriptionists. They differ on various levels/factors, for instance:
Medical transcriptionists and coders undergo different tasks; however, they do need quite a similar set of skills, but some do differ. Medical coders and medical transcriptionists both need to be:
- Focus on details, i.e., detail-oriented
- High on accuracy
If either of the two makes any mistake in their given tasks (coding or transcription), it can cause issues on a larger scale. For instance, billing incorrect codes can lead to claims being denied or rejected. On the other hand, inaccurate medical transcription can lead to incorrect medical records, therefore, the use of incorrect codes.
Other skills required:
For a medical transcriptionist, good listening skills are a strong suit. When a medical transcriptionist is taking physician notes, they might not be able to understand everything being said. This is why strong listening skills and adequate medical knowledge are essential so that they will have a better judgment of what to include in the records.
When it comes to medical coding, things get a little more technical. The medical coder must be familiar with the coding systems (e.g., CPT, HCPCS Level II, & ICD-10). Not just this, they also need to be up-to-date regarding all the recent changes/updates in the coding system and their guidelines (as codes are annually being updated). Medical coders also should have all information about the insurance payers, their requirements, and deadlines in order to avoid claim denials.
The work environment for medical coders and medical transcriptionists differs. Medical coders are the specialists that usually work in a hospital, a clinic, or an educational institute. Not only this, legal, insurance, or outsourced medical billing services companies also require medical coders on board. For insurance and legal firms, medical coders are required to overlook any fraudulent activity.
However, when it comes to medical transcriptionists, it is usually assumed that they work in a hospital, healthcare practice, clinic, or facility. But they don’t usually work directly for the healthcare practice. Various medical transcriptionists can also work for agencies providing administrative services.
Medical coding and medical transcription both require great knowledge of medical terminologies; this is why proper training is required. However, a medical coder requires a vast knowledge of coding systems, their guidelines, and modifiers.
What is the purpose of medical coding?
Proper medical coding is the backbone of a healthcare practice’s revenue cycle. Medical practices and physicians get more of their revenues via reimbursements they get through insurance payers. When it comes to medical coding, accuracy is the key. Any error in medical coding can lead to the claims being denied or rejected, leading to lost payments and revenues. There are several reasons behind a claim denial; it can be medical coding errors, the patient’s inadequate coverage, or missing medical details.
A medical coder handles one of the most crucial steps of a medical billing process. Some of the key responsibilities include the following:
- Gathering billable patient information from the medical records and documentation.
- Verification of the patient’s information from the physicians and other healthcare professionals
- Checking for any missing information or details that can later lead to claim denials.
- Based on the information, select the corresponding and specific codes.
- Make sure that the medical bills are in compliance with the official coding guidelines.
- Ensuring that the insurance payer’s requirements are fulfilled.
- Informing the healthcare provider regarding coding requirements.
Human errors are quite common in medical billing and coding, which is why medical billing software has become a necessity. This software reduces the manual paperwork by automating the entire medical billing process. Eventually, reducing the risk of errors, stress, and administrative tasks. With medical billing software, healthcare practice can check for any error before the claim has even been submitted. Commonly used medical billing software includes the following:
- Kareo Billing
- CareCloud Central
Common errors in medical coding include:
- Use of incorrect code
- Use of an outdated or deleted code
- Appending an incorrect/inappropriate modifier
- Under coding
- Not using a diagnosis code
- Overusing a modifier
Medical Billing process:
Medical billing is a crucial process for a healthcare practice. Based on the insurance payer requirements and patient coverage, every healthcare practice has its own medical billing process.
Following are the standard medical billing process steps:
- Patient registration
- Confirming the financial responsibility
- Meeting with the physician – also known as the encounter
- Medical transcription
- Medical coding or charge entry
- Preparing the medical claim
- Claim submission
- Monitoring adjudication
- Generating patient statements
- Follow-up and claim denial management
Medical billing tips for maximized reimbursements:
By now, it is quite clear that proper medical billing results in higher revenues and a higher reimbursement rate. But in order to achieve financial stability and faster payments, the claim submitted must be error-free. Claim denials not only cost your practice money but also takes a lot of time and increase the administrative workload.
In order to achieve a smooth functioning revenue cycle and profitable healthcare practice, follow the below-mentioned best practices for medical billing;
- Achieve a clean claim rate (at first submission) of 95%
- Be up-to-date regarding all the recent changes and updates in medical coding and their guidelines
- Patient information, coverage, and eligibility criteria verification are essential.
- Fulfill your insurance payer’s requirements for a medical claim
- Ensure timely submission of the medical claims as late submission may lead to claims being denied or rejected.
- Reduce the errors in medical coding
- In case of a claim denial, manage them promptly, or your practice loses revenues.
Outsourcing to UControl Billing:
UControl Billing is a well-reputed medical billing outsourcing services company, offering various services, including medical transcription services for your healthcare practice. We understand that accurate medical transcription is a necessity for your healthcare practice. This is why we have specially trained and experienced medical transcriptionists onboard with us. These experts are trained to understand the medical terminologies, abbreviations, and insurance information so it can be accurately transcribed.
Our Medical Transcription Services:
At UControl Billing we offer the following medical transcription services:
- Dictation from any telephone, handheld recorder, or Android phone
- FAST 24 hours turnaround time
- Toll-Free Telephone Dictation platform
- Highest Quality Transcriptions
- Full HIPAA Compliance
Our medical billing services:
We understand that medical billing is a critical area for any healthcare practice, which is why we aim to offer the best medical billing services. Our medical billing services include the following:
- Fee schedule review and analysis
- Eligibility verification.
- Referrals, Authorization alert, Claim tracking, reduced rejections, and denials
- Patient statement processing, Mailing, Customized Monthly financial reports
- Rules-based claim review, scrubbing, Insurance follow-up.
- Helping with a collection agency to recover patient balances
- Always remain HIPAA Compliant
- Competitive pricing
- Maximized reimbursements
- Uninterrupted services
We work so you don’t have to! Our aim is to make your healthcare practice even more profitable and help you grow and achieve your goal. We handle your medical billing and transcription so you can focus more on your patients, providing them with the best care. There are various benefits of outsourcing medical billing services to UControl Billing, including:
- Reduced risk of errors
- A team of highly experienced and dedicated professionals
- More focus on providing quality patient care
- Lesser claim denials
- Higher clean claim rate
- Faster payments
- Higher reimbursement rate
- Improved revenue cycle
- Timely submissions
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between medical transcription and medical billing?
The entire health records of the patients are managed by the medical billers and coders using the coding systems. However, medical transcriptionist converts the medical records, lab results, etc., into written documents.
Is there any difference between a medical coder and a medical transcriptionist?
The medical coder converts the health data into alphanumeric coding systems like CPT, ICD-10, & HCPCS Level II. Medical transcriptionists convert lab results and medical data by professional physicians into documents.
Can a medical coder be a medical transcriptionist?
Medical transcriptionists require a proper degree to work professionally. However, medical coders require certification to begin with.