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How to Identify Diagnostic Patterns

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blue-data-spaceDiligently gathering your coding data and identifying diagnostic patterns is a key way to help your practice run more efficiently.

To identify diagnostic patterns, analyze your practice’s coding data for key markers; for example, you can determine which codes are most frequently used and which represent the largest portion of your revenue. By contrast, you can note which codes are frequently denied and the reasons for their denial. Do this analysis for each payer that you work with, and analyze data going back a full year.

As much as half of a physician’s daily business is, generally, in similar kinds of interactions, so patterns emerge quite easily. With minimum effort and a little attention, you can easily get sufficient documentation to support coding in a regularly applicable way that significantly reduces the burden.

Based on the diagnostic patterns that emerge, many physicians who code for themselves have created techniques to locate the ICD-10 codes they require. One family practitioner, for example, entered all his ICD-9 codes into the HER and used the search function to bring up a list of related ICD-10 codes. Another reported that his e-MD electronic health record provided body diagrams and code lists that could be clicked on to build the correct codes.

Though templates are another solution for larger practices and hospitals, smaller, independent physicians generally are not able to effectively use pre-canned templates at all. However, a trend has emerged among smaller practices of building their own templates, specific to their individual needs. Many physicians prefer to customize templates as needed to fit particular patients and utilize the free text they’re accustomed to rather than use the structured documentation of a template.

After establishing awareness of certain diagnostic patterns, you can then make an informed decision about what system will most benefit your practice, help it run efficiently and make life easier for you and your patients. If you are having difficulty identifying diagnostic patterns, or have solid data but don’t know how to apply it, get in touch; our billing consultants can help devise a system that works for your practice.