Clinical Roles: Coding and Billing
My clinical role largely involves billing, coding, and documentation of patients’ data to facilitate easy communication between insurance companies and the healthcare organization that I currently work for. My healthcare facility often sends the coding and billing information to insurance companies to claim payments. As a coding, documentation and billing specialist, I am charged with the responsibility of keeping clear health data and reviewing those records before assigning proper codes to specific diagnoses (Benoit, Bergeron and Bertrand, 2016; & Deloitte, 2016).
Coding, billing, and documentation of patients’ health data are governed by strict ethical, legal, and regulatory standards because they involve usage of confidential information. In this regard, clinicians have strict ethical and legal responsibilities to observe as far as documentation strategies, coding, and billing are concerned (Benoit, Bergeron and Bertrand, 2016).
Personally, I feel that it is in order for documentation strategies, coding, and billing to be governed by strict ethical, legal, and regulatory standards. Since clinicians have access to private patient’s records, they must maintain total confidentiality in their documentation strategies, coding, and billing (Deloitte, 2016). In addition, these clinicians have an ethical responsibility to access only that information that is related to the issue being addressed at any given time.
Their actions must comply with the ethical standards documented in the American Association of Professional Coders and the American Health Information Management Association (Benoit, Bergeron and Bertrand, 2016). As far as their legal and regulatory responsibilities are concerned, documentation, coding and billing specialists must maintain confidentiality requirements as outlined in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, (HIPAA). The ethical, legal, and regulatory standards that govern documentation strategies, coding, and billing, play a significant role in minimizing healthcare fraud and abuse (Deloitte, 2016).
Evidence-based research has become an important aspect of the healthcare industry in the recent past due to the role that it plays in improving healthcare delivery. According to JoAnn (2017), evidence-based research is necessary because it helps clinicians to generate the right type of data that they can use to improve the effectiveness of care. Clinicians often rely on different kinds of knowledge for them to make the right decisions in their relationships with sick patients.
Furthermore, they are expected to have a comprehensive understanding of the physiological, psychological, emotional, and social factors affecting their patients’ health for them to deliver the most appropriate care. Although clinicians can quickly obtain this information from existing literature, they must complement it by evidence from empirical research. Evidence-based research, therefore, provides clinicians with practical facts that they can integrate with their experiential knowledge to improve patient care (Kristensen, Nymann and Konradsen, 2015).
I incorporate evidence-based research to a large extent into my role as a clinician. I firmly believe that the safety of my patients depends on the availability of evidence that can adequately support the nature of care that I deliver to them (JoAnn, 2017). For this reason, I rely on data obtained from evidence-based research to improve healthcare services which serve to promote better outcomes for my patients.
I do not only rely on evidence-based research to change my care practices, but I also develop available evidence to fulfill existing knowledge gaps as far as improvement of patient safety is concerned. Over the coming years, I aspire to utilize evidence-based research to improve my skills as a clinician (Kristensen, Nymann and Konradsen, 2015).
Falls are common among seniors, especially those who are suffering from chronic health problems such as diabetes (Graveande and Richardson, 2016). According to Graveande and Richardson (2016), a geriatric fall is a sudden occurrence among the elderly that signifies a decline in their homeostatic reserve. Geriatric falls pose a great risk of loss of independence to the elderly in the society today.
This calls for the greatest need to identity and implements the most appropriate health maintenance strategies that would improve care for this population and their families. Mazur, Wilczynski, and Szewieczek (2016) critically explore the importance of health maintenance specific to geriatric falls as it pertains to the care of the patient and their family.
According to Mazur, Wilczynski, and Szewieczek (2016), exercise is the most appropriate health promotion strategy for geriatric falls because it helps to improve balance and minimize the risks of repeated falls. Exercise is a recommended health promotion strategy for geriatric falls because it serves to generate a greater amount of homeostatic reserve for the elderly patient. In addition to exercise, elderly patients who are at high risks of falling should eat a balanced diet as this provides them with energy that they may need to regain physical activity.
As Mazur, Wilczynski and Szewieczek (2016) explain, social support can help to reduce risk factors for future falls among the seniors because it drives away the fear that typically develops from past falls. Family members of elderly patients who are recovering from the effects of falls should pay attention to physical activity, nutritional strategies, and social support in their effort to promote positive health outcomes for their patients (Mazur, Wilczynski and Szewieczek, 2016).
I agree with the solutions provided by Mazur, Wilczynski and Szewieczek (2016) because they are supported by evidence-based research. In a well-organized research, Burton, Cavalheri and Hill (2015) have revealed that physical exercise programs help to improve balance in older adults who are at risk for falls. These researchers further assert that planned nutritional strategies contribute to induce positive health changes such as improved performance and reduced risk for falls in geriatric patients.
In a similar study, Durbin, Kharrazi and Mielenz (2016) support the use of social support, physical exercise, and dietary supplements in promoting health maintenance to geriatric patients. Since health maintenance solutions for geriatric falls are supported by evidence-based research, clinicians can utilize these ideas to make appropriate healthcare decisions for their elderly patients (Kristensen, Nymann and Konradsen, 2015).
The number of elderly adults who are being diagnosed with diabetes in the society today is on the rise. The major challenge faced by clinicians is defining the therapy goals for geriatric patients due to the existence of limited data about the aging process and drug response of this population (Kazerle, Shalev, and Barski, 2014).
Considering the complexities that surround the health status of geriatric patients, clinicians are charged with the responsibility of choosing a treatment plan that will maximize glycemic control, while at the same time avoiding exposing their patients to increased risks. Due to variations in physiological functions between adults and geriatric patients, the treatment approach for geriatric patients differs significantly from that of an adult (Graveande and Richardson, 2016).
Treatment of geriatric patients involves the use of medication as well as other interventions such as nutritional strategies and psycho-social support (Graveande and Richardson, 2016). This paper will focus on pharmacological or drug treatment alone. The best medication that should be used to treat geriatric diabetic patients includes; metformin, sulfonylureas, meglitinides, thiazolidinediones, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, and sodium glucose co-transporters two inhibitors.
These medications are taken orally at highly controlled doses. Geriatric diabetes patients can also be treated using injectable therapies such as GLP-1 analogs, pramlintide, and insulin. Although similar medications can be used to treat diabetes in adults, the drug dosage differs significantly between the two populations due to variations in pharmacokinetic parameters. In this respect, the drug dosage given to geriatric patients are relatively lower than those administered to adults. The goal of delivering lower doses to geriatric patients as compared to adults is the need to maximize chances of glycemic control, without exposing the elderly adults to additional risks (Kazerle, Shalev, and Barski, 2014).
My learning progress in the course directly correlates to the stages in Benner’s Novice to Expert Theory. Benner’s Novice to Expert Theory assumes that a learner experiences a progressive form of knowledge acquisition that involves five stages namely; novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert stages of skill acquisition (Josephsen, 2014). Since I began the course, I have successfully gone through the first stage of Benner’s theory known as novice stage.
When I started the course as a novice, I had no background experience, and I had difficulty differentiating between relevant and irrelevant aspects. Even now, I still take my time to understand course requirements and their significance in shaping my roles as a clinician. After familiarizing myself with a few course concepts, I will move to the second stage of advanced beginner.
At this stage, I will rely on rules provided by my instructor to perform every individual task. Furthermore, I will ask more experienced students to help me integrate practical knowledge and to set priorities for the course (Bowen and Prentice, 2016).
After learning course concepts for two years, I will progress to the competent stage of skill acquisition. Here, I will easily compare situations and make judgments on that scenario that require immediate attention. Additionally, I will integrate devised rules with those learned in the classroom to help solve complex matters. From the competent stage, I will move to proficient stage characterized by critical thinking and individual decision making (Bowen and Prentice, 2016).
While at proficient stage of skill acquisition, I will be able to easily see changes that take place in every situation and implement appropriate responses to promote success. It is at this stage where I will view the course as a whole rather than regarding its small components like I currently do. Later on, I will progress to expert stage of skill acquisition. Here, I will be able to grasp every situation more accurately than now.
Additionally, I will no longer rely on rules and guidelines to make appropriate decisions on how to tackle issues related to the course. Moreover, I will operate from a deep understanding of every situation and make judgments that will generate positive outcomes (Josephsen, 2014).
In conclusion, as a clinician, I have an obligation to observe ethical, legal, and regulatory responsibilities during documentation, coding, and billing. Also, I must acknowledge the importance of evidence-based research by making clinical decisions based on facts obtained from empirical studies. A good example of a health situation in which I can effectively utilize evidence-based research is when designing a health promotion program specific to geriatric falls.
In this case, evidence-based practice will help me to deliver the most appropriate care for the patient and his or her family. Considering the little volume of knowledge that I have gathered as a novice, I believe that my learning progress in the course effectively correlates to the stages of Benner’s Novice to Expert Theory.
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Burton, A., Cavalheri, V. & Hill, K. (2015). The effectiveness of exercise programs to reduce falls in order people with dementia living in the community: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 10: 421-434.doi:10.2147/CIA.S71691.
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Durbin, L., Kharrazi, R. & Mielenz, T. J. (2016). Social support and older adult fall. Injury Epidemiology, 3(1):4.doi:10.1186/s40621-016-0070-y
Grave and, J. & Richardson, J. (2016). Identifying non-pharmacological risk factors for falling in older adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review. Disability and Rehabilitation, 39(15): 1459-1465.doi:10.1080/09638288.2016.119974.
JoAnn, M. (2017). Call to action: How to implement evidence-based nursing practice. Nursing, 47(4):36-43.
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Kazerle, L., Shalev, L. & Barski, L. (2014). Treating the elderly diabetic patient: Special considerations. Diabetes Metabolic Syndromes and Obesity, 7: 391-400.
Kristensen, N., Nymann, C. & Konradsen, H. (2015). Implementing research results in clinical practice: The experience of healthcare professionals. BMC Health Services Research, 16:48.doi:10.1186/s12913-016-1292-y
Mazur, K., Wilczynski, K. & Szewieczek, J. (2016). Geriatric falls in the context of a hospital fall prevention program: Delirium, low body mass index, and other risk factors. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 11:1253-1261.doi:10.2147/CIA.S115755.
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