One aspect of medical coding you might not be aware of is patient interaction. Sure, it might be ideal for some if your day only consisted of dealing with doctors, nurses and medical codes. But the truth is, patients have lots of questions and it’s inevitable that some of these will head your way one day. Some of these questions may be similar to the following:
- What does this code mean?
- Won’t it lower the cost if you change the code?
- Are you sure that’s the right code?
So what do you do when patients ask difficult medical coding questions like these? Well, answering them is fairly easy, but answering them patiently is another story. Here are some techniques to use so that both you and the patient maintain your composure during any question-and-answer session:
1. Avoid ‘Industry Speak’
When you’re a professional medical coder or biller, it can be easy to slip into verbiage that only those in your industry know. But patients don’t understand many of these terms, let alone acronyms. For example, instead of using words like “ICD-10” or “E/M,” use “your medical status” or “your doctor visit.” Keep acronyms and “industry speak” at a minimum to avoid frustration.
2. Show You Care
Try to build trust and show empathy whenever possible. The medical world can be frightening, scary or disheartening to patients, and it is easy to overlook this fact sometimes. Encourage them to ask questions, try to listen to their concerns and reassure them if you can. You can even take some notes and their phone number to show you truly care about them and their situation.
3. Get to the Core Issue
Just as you’re listening to show you care, also listen so you understand what their real question is. Oftentimes, patients have questions or concerns because there’s a miscommunication or misunderstanding. If you identify the core issue or real question, you’ll be in a better position to actually help them.
There you have it! To learn more techniques about how to succeed in the medical coding and billing industry—and to gain the knowledge needed to pass your certification exam—sign up for our three-day class or online course today.