CAC: a Tool for Coders

The PLATOCODE CAC system is there to help you, not replace you! It is a tool to assist you with the coding process on which your facility depends.

All coders know about coding shortages and how difficult it can be to find good coders. Some coders even have difficulty taking leave because it has such an impact on colleagues. This is the sort of area where PLATOCODE CAC can assist.

PLATOCODE's engine is an advanced "Natural Language Processing" system that can read charts and apply codes. However, computers cannot read paper charts and even with latest technologies it can be difficult for a computer to read scanned records.

This is why the PLATOCODE CAC system focuses on modalities with a more complete electronic record. A good place to start is Ambulatory Surgery and Outpatient Radiology because these areas tend to have more electronic documentation and many providers have high throughput. The PLATOCODE engine is also very good at coding Inpatient charts (as you'd expect after doing it for 20 years!) and as EHRs become more prevalent, more and more of the Inpatient chart is electronic as well.

When you start work on a chart, you will find that the PLATOCODE CAC system has already read the chart and has assigned the codes- just as if another coder has gone before you. Instead of scrolling up and down through notes trying to extract meaning and codes, now you are an Auditor: you click each code selected by CAC to see where it came from, then you agree or disagree. If you disagree, a number of options are available to you- including integrated access to common Encoder tools installed on your PC. Starting in 2012 you also have the ability to "Challenge PLATO", asking it to show you the index entries, Coding Clinic articles or other resources it used to select a code. The PLATOCODE CAC engine is very good at collating information that may be scattered through a chart so the ability to challenge choices may allow you to agree with PLATOCODE CAC. If you are happy with the CAC codes, you can move quickly to the next case. Experienced coders immediately understand how this can improve their productivity without causing stress... as long as the electronic record is available for PLATOCODE CAC to code.

The system does not result in coders becoming automatons: in fact, it is the best sort of tool that reduces drudgery and supports coders' expertise. Rather than eliminating coders, PLATOCODE CAC helps them become more valuable members of the team.

By assisting coders to complete coding requirements quickly, CAC makes it possible for them to undertake other work that may not be possible when the pressure is always on. There may be a persistent backlog to take care of or the coder may be interested in expanding her skills. Or, saved time can be used to query physicians or to assist them to improve their records to reduce the need for queries- something many coders would enjoy if only they had time and opportunity. Or there may be more opportunities for training, or to attend professional conferences, or even to take leave without feeling guilty.

This is why we agree with AHIMA experts who say that CAC creates new opportunities for coders who want to grow their careers. Our experience is that facilities value their coding professionals and are happy to assist with career growth as long as it does not interfere with coding delivery. The value for HIM directors and CFOs does not come from firing coders but from quicker chart turnaround, easier bill-back management and easier staff retention. The PLATOCODE CAC system can assist in all these areas.

How does it affect my work?

The PLATOCODE CAC system is designed to fit into your daily routine rather than creating a complex new process for you to follow. Many coders are up and running with the PLATOCODE system after a single training session.

Click here to see a video about the PLATOCODE CAC system.

At the PLATOCODE company we enjoy working with coders and HIM directors. We particularly enjoy seeing coders growing their careers, giving presentations at professional meetings and publishing papers. If this sounds like the sort of thing you'd like, contact us now! We'd love to work with you.