Computer-assisted coding (CAC) has come a long way in a short time. What started as a way to help clinical coders manage ever increasing complexity in their workloads, has now grown into a technology solution that provide benefits across whole organisations.
Drivers of the shift to CAC
The shift away from paper-based to electronic data capture provides an opportunity to use new technologies, including artificial intelligence, to automate not only the assignment of codes, but also the many separate and disparate processes of coding and CDI workflow overall.
Furthermore, with the growing adoption of EMRs, hospitals in the Asia-Pacific region are now seeking CAC solutions that leverage their existing platforms to improve productivity.
Now, with ICD-11 on the horizon and the increasing need for data interoperability, there is a growing view among HIM and clinical coding teams that automation of coding is not only inevitable but also welcome.
Benefits across the organisation
The adoption of CAC has now been shown to have positive effects that go beyond improved coding accuracy and productivity.
To understand the technology’s impacts, 3M commissioned a survey of US hospitals and health systems. The goal of the survey was to understand the benefits of CAC technology to health information management and revenue cycle leaders at these organisations.
The survey showed that CAC technology improves productivity and key quality metrics, reduces the need for outsourcing and rework claims, and promotes financial success.
Sixty-eight per cent of survey respondents reported that CAC solutions improved productivity. And the longer an organisation uses and becomes familiar with CAC, the more pronounced the impact becomes. Of those using CAC for five or more years, 88% reported an increase in productivity.
CAC solutions were also found to have a significant impact on quality and complexity capture. Superior CDI and coding abilities translate into cleaner codes the first time, allowing organisations to put more focus on quality metrics and to improve their accuracy and reliability. In the US survey, 65% of respondents stated that CAC helps improve quality measures.
Outsourcing, rework and DNFB
The survey found the need for outsourcing is significantly reduced when hospitals implement CAC technology. Those who had been using CAC for over five years noted a 74% reduction in outsourcing. The survey also showed significant reductions in rework claims and discharged not final billed (DNFB).
There was general agreement in the survey that CAC will contribute to future financial success. Ninety-two per cent of organisations using CAC solutions for five years or more agreed or strongly agreed that CAC will enable financial success going forward.
Reason to be confident
The US experience shows that implementing CAC technology solutions not only improves productivity and coding accuracy, it also improves quality metrics and hospital reimbursement. Continued use of the technology enhances these benefits and ensures organisations are prepared for any future changes in coding guidelines.
Although it’s early days for CAC technology in the Asia-Pacific region, there is good reason to be confident that hospitals will see a significant return on their investment for many years to come.
Future proof your clinical coding workflows
3M Health Information Systems is ready to assist you in assessing your origination’s readiness for computer assisted coding technology. Find out more about CAC technology here.