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Can Chatbots Do Medical Coding

Can Chatbots do Medical Coding in 2024?

The emerging technology of artificial intelligence and Chatbots has scared people. Tons of people think that AI will replace them in the near future, leaving them jobless. Which is the reason they are searching for the answer to this burning question “can chatbots do medical coding?

The fear of AI is constantly rising in the minds of employees. Which births questions like these in the popular online forums: 

In my opinion, this constant state of “Can Chatbots Do Medical Coding” and fear is pointless. People always fear things they don’t completely understand.

The same happened when computers came out in the early 1980s (According to this brilliant article by Adrienne LaFrance on The Atlantic

People started fearing them. A new term “computerphobia” started making rounds on the pages of newspapers. People were afraid thinking they would be either replaced by them, or become their slaves. 

Fast forward to today, I’m writing this article on a computer. You’re reading it with the help of a computer and all the process that made this delivery possible is because of computers in one way or another.

Machines would always be dependent on humans. If we look at the example of computers, we can see that as powerful as they seem, they are still dependent on humans.

In this article, we’ll see how AI will get along with the healthcare industry. Specifically the medical billing department. So…can chatbots do medical coding? Let’s find out!

Understanding Chatbots

Before jumping all in, let’s try to understand the chatbots. What they are and how they work?

AI chatbot responds to given questions known as “prompts” to it in natural language as if it were a real person. It responds using a combination of machine learning algorithms and pre-programmed scripts. (Source)

These chatbots can be divided into two different types.

Rule-based Chatbots

These kinds of chatbots are limited and can only comprehend a number of questions and responses that it has been programmed to. It has predefined rules and regulations that it has to follow. These can be built much easier than the others. And they only use simple true-false mechanisms to respond to the incoming queries.

AI-based Chatbots

They are equipped with an artificial brain, aka artificial intelligence (AI). These kinds of bots are trained using machine-learning algorithms. Which helps them understand open-ended questions or prompts. Another mind blowing thing about AI-based chatbots is, they learn from the users. In other words, they are getting better with each passing day.

These sound scary, right? Wait until you hear that ChatGPT can now see, hear, and speak. Even scarier, right? Well…I guess. 

Now let’s take a look at medical coding that will help you understand Can Chatbots Do Medical Coding.

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Understanding Medical Coding

Medical coding is the process of extracting a patient’s healthcare information from the physician’s notes and transcribing it into specific medical codes. 

These are called medical alphanumeric codes. Insurance companies and healthcare departments use these codes for record-keeping and communication.

There are three kinds of alphanumeric codes:

  • International Classification of Diseases (ICD): The World Health Organization (WHO) created this code. Institutions use this code for record-keeping, and data collection, etc. These codes can classify symptoms, illnesses, diseases, causes of death, etc.
  • Current Procedural Terminology (CPT): These codes recognize surgical, medical, and diagnostic procedures, in the United States. The American Medical Association, also known as (AMA) is the founder of this system.
  • Healthcare Common Procedure Coding (HCPCS): The developer of this coding system is The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The system helps with processing insurance claims for Medicare and several other providers.They are widely used to note medical procedures, services, and supplies.

Can Chatbots do Medical Coding?

Yes, of course they can! There is no denying that anything you can do, the robots can do as well. But not as good as a human.

And that makes us unique. 

Chatbots are very far away from perfection. They are continuously making mistakes and that’s one thing that is not tolerable in the healthcare department.

While assembling this article I came across this article from It says LSU alumni Phillip Kilgore and Keyvan Shahrdar have combined to develop a chatbot that uses the power of artificial intelligence to assist professionals in reducing the time being spent on medical coding.

Since medical coding is time consuming and requires a lot of presence of mind and attention, it sure is a good initiative that can be super useful for the medical department.

But, here’s the thing…the software is developed to help and work WITH humans. 

If you have read the article carefully, you can see, it says that a professional first prompts the intelligent software and later it helps them determine what these symptoms could mean.

That takes us back to the example of computers that we talked about at the beginning of this article.

So…the point here I’m trying to make is, the answer to the question that we were looking for (can chatbots do medical coding?) is yes.

Chatbots can do medical coding but…not without the supervision of a human being.

If you’re a medical biller, you should learn to adapt to these new emerging technologies. As because these are here to stay with us, not to compete.

Not to mention, the massive risk and room for hacks and cyber attacks could happen any second.  Considering the vulnerabilities, because of lack of encryption when the chatbot is communicating with backend databases.

Chatbots are not very difficult to break into, and that’s the reason hackers and scammers are using it to spread malwares and ransomware to users’ devices.

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    Final Words

    Can chatbots do medical coding? Absolutely yes! 

    Is it concerning? A big no!

    The advancement of technology and the emerging new era of chatbots is interesting, rather than depressing. And if we talk about jobs, jobs change from time to time. 

    Some jobs like virtual reality consultant, data analyst, and user experience manager weren’t a thing 5 years ago. And today an entry level data analyst is making at least $36,000 per year.

    So, instead of losing our minds over AI replacing our jobs, we should find more ways to live —and make money— with them. Arguably, artificial intelligence is here to stay. And we have to dig a way to the top of the tunnel to survive.

    Disclaimer: This is an opinion based article and does not reflect the values, virtuals, and morals of the publication.

    I hope this article was helpful for you. Thank you for reading my thoughts, I wish you great success.

    What do you think is the future of chatbots in healthcare? Do let me know in the comments.

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