Medical coding education enhances orthopedic residents’ ability to identify billing codes
According to published results, orthopedic residents who received formal medical coding education better identified proper billing codes for common procedures compared with residents who received no coding education.
Researchers at the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute tested the coding ability of 28 junior residents, 24 senior residents and 15 attending orthopedic surgeons with a mock coding survey of commonly encountered clinical scenarios.
According to the study, researchers also questioned participants on their history of coding education, such as a formal education lecture as part of a residency curriculum, an American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons educational event or online course, an outside live course or self-taught education.
Of both resident cohorts, 34.6% (n = 18) of participants reported some form of coding education. Likewise, 66.7% (n = 10) of attending surgeon participants reported a history of coding education.
Attending surgeons recorded the best mean overall correct response rate of 72.8%. Senior residents recorded a mean overall correct response rate of 51%, and junior residents had the worst mean overall correct response rate of 47.4%.
Researchers noted any form of coding education was associated with improved mock coding scores among resident participants (54.4% correct vs. 46.2% correct); however, participants who attended a live coding course (n = 9) performed “significantly better” in all five subcategories of the mock survey, they added.
“The goal of training in orthopedic residency is to produce surgeons who are proficient in all aspects of the practice of orthopedic surgery; however, most residents receive either inadequate or no training in medical coding,” the researchers wrote in the study. “These results are consistent with other studies in the literature and illustrate that a formal coding education in residency can significantly improve coding accuracy,” they wrote.