Medical coding is a relatively recent healthcare-related procedure. Introduced in the United States, it brought uniformity in the way doctors provide medical treatments and care. As part of medical coding, the doctors ascribe an alphanumeric value or a medical code to all healthcare diagnoses. Further, this also includes treatments, operative procedures, and other medical services.
The Beginning of Medical Coding
It dates back to the late 19th century in the USA. In 1872, important medical authorities first compiled a collection of diseases as a standardized set. They named this the Nomenclature of Diseases. The American Medical Association was chiefly instrumental in undertaking and creating this. Medical coding in America consists mainly of ICD (international classification of diseases) and CPT (current procedural terminology) codes.
Medical coding is a mandatory process for the entire healthcare system that received international recognition in 1948. This was when the World Health Organization (WHO) assumed responsibility for the whole of the coding classification system. Currently, medical coding has assumed great importance in the payment infrastructure of the US healthcare system.
Adaption of CPT and ICD Codes
Since 1948, various healthcare organizations in the United States have contributed to, adapted and implemented both CPT and ICD codes throughout the country. These codes apply to pretty much all hospital and clinic services, treatment diagnosis, and medical procedures. The American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services are some of these organizations.
The Expansion of Medical Coding Market
Today the medical coding market is ever-expanding. It seems to grow at a steady pace constantly. Consider this: According to a source, the medical coding market last year was valued at $15,259.67 million and is expected to reach USD 28,363.63 million by 2026. This gives a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of over 10% if you consider the period of this forecast.
The prime reason behind this growth is that all major healthcare institutions in the United States are looking to introduce medical coding on a larger scale than before. This is a means of achieving uniformity and reducing parity in the cost and other caregiving aspects of medical treatment. Another study puts a figure of $16.4 billion for the medical coding market in 2020. By 2021, this number expects to grow to $18.09 billion.
The Need for Medical Coding Market
Amongst the two important subtypes in medical coding, the ICD is the larger segment expected to generate significant revenue between 2021 and 2026. With the growing nature of all kinds of diseases globally and more so with COVID, there is always more need for ICD coding.
Trained medical coders are in demand like never before. However, this phenomenon does not limit itself to US national boundaries. Countries like the UK and many European superpowers are looking at a substantial rise in the medical coding market demand.
There is another dimension to why the medical coding requirement is on the rise. This process has had many versions over the years. It has been gradually evolving. The recent years have seen more improved versions of CPT and ICD coding. This essentially means that the coding process has to reviewed and revised every new year when a new codes come in. Providers are less likely to be able to write and code their own charts and thus rely on expertise are professional such as scribes and certified coders.
Often, medical coders need to apply fresh, new codes to illnesses and medical procedures they learned in the previous years. This is to accommodate the changes in coding policies announced in subsequent years.
The Outlook of Medical Coding Market
Additionally, the medical coding market will also see significant growth due to frequent and different launches of medical coding companies throughout the world. A variety of healthcare solution companies and revenue cycle management (RCM) organizations are coming up with different medical coding solutions every day. This scenario leads to scope for significant expansion and growth in this market.
All in all, medical coding as a business and avenue for revenue generation is here to stay. Its overall outlook is one of positivity and sturdy growth over the coming years.