Inpatient coding vs Outpatient coding

Medical coding is broadly divided into two categories inpatient coding and outpatient coding. Here are some of the differences. Outpatient coding involves coding charts where the hospital stay is limited to 24 hours. The patient is treated and discharged within 24 hours. Outpatient coding is far easier than inpatient coding. In inpatient coding, the patient is admitted and remains in the hospital til he recovers thus making the hospital stay more than one day. Inpatient coding requires coding of services of each day of the hospital stay thus making is more and more difficult if the hospital stay becomes longer and longer. For procedural coding in outpatient CPT codes are used whereas in inpatient coding ICD procedure are used. In outpatient coding dignosis like suspected, ruleout, probable, or consistent are not coded and instead respective symptoms are codes whereas in inpatient coding all such diagnosis are coded as current conditions. In outpatient coding, abnormal findings are coded as given by the physician whereas in inpatient coding abnormal findings are not coded and reported unless the provider indicates their clinical significance.

Inpatient operative reports are very exhaustive and may have hundreds of pages.
One more difference between inpatient and outpatient coding is the usge of DRG coding in inpatient coding so the skill sets required for inpatient coding also include DRG expertise.

Tags: difference between inpatient outpatient coding, inpatient outpatient coding similar different, medical coders, americal academy of professional coders, healthcare industry, ICD 9


Anonymous said...

It's obvious that the author of this piece is not a coder. Statements such as "Outpatient coding is far easier than inpatient coding," and "Inpatient coding requires coding of services of each day of the hospital stay..." and "Inpatient operative reports are very exhaustive and may have hundreds of pages," are misleading at the very least, if not patently false. Any coder with experience in both settings is aware that both types of charts can be either difficult or simple, each on it's own merits. Length of stay is most often irrelevant to the complexity of a chart. Also, from personal experience, outpatient operative reports are no less "exhaustive," than inpatient reports. A single operative episode requiring "hundreds of pages"? C'mon, quit pulling my leg!

Anonymous said...

Ys. U r right. It needs lot of patience to go through yhe entire length of stay...but i am not sure ..Are the cpt procedural coding banned in inpatient billing

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