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Posted by medical-coding-resources on May 19, 2009 at 9:38 AM

What is an encoder

A product that generates medical codes based a key word that HIM Coders enter from the provider documentation. It provides a list of codes

for the coder to review and decide if they apply using

�� Official Coding Guidelines, CPT Assistant, AHA guidelines.

IT is always advisable to use your books in addition to an encoder.

In my class we preformed an example using the same key words on various encoders and each one came up with some different info.

That is because encoders are different some are

Logic based the HIM coders types in a key word and answers various questions to arrive at an code.

Dictionary driven The HIM coders type in a key work or code and select the code

I advise my students you still need to use your books my students asked why even use their books when they have an encoder?  In my opinion an encoder should not take the place 100% of your books and I will talk about that more later.

While there are many different Encoder products they all give you more information than just your coding books. Rather then having 10 books or resources open on your desk you can find all the tools in one place updated often. Many have the following resources coders use often if not each day.

AMA CPT Assistant

Anatomy & Physiology

Coders’ Desk Reference

Faye Brown

Pharmacological Drug Reference, such as a

Physician’s Desk Reference

Encoders  increase accuracy, process time from the time you get the chart note to billing and out the door and Increase coding consistency. If the auditors use the same resources as the coders there is less chance of errors.

The problems with encoders are that some coders have not had training on how to use them so errors will occur. Coders don’t reference their coding books at all thus not learning how to code and be familiar with the coding books prior to taking certifications tests, employment tests and research for learning when the encoder might be wrong or perhaps they can’t afford a new encoder or their employer does not get the new encoder updates prior to 10.01 of each year.

It is always best to get some training on encoders so you can learn all the tools they have available and how to use them just sitting down without prior instruction can cause you to use them incorrectly or not use some tools available to you.

These are some encoder suppliers


Code Correct

Code Manager


Encoder Pro

Flash Code

Quadramed Quantim Encoder


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