Q: Can your CAC do inpatient charts?

A: The PLATOCODE company invented Computer-Assisted Coding (CAC) in 1992 and our engine has been processing inpatient charts since then- yes, that's 20 years. In 1998 we added ICD-10 for inpatient charts.

Some people consider that Inpatient coding is the most difficult for CAC. Actually, inpatient is the easiest modality because it usually only involves ICD-9 or ICD-10, not CPT. CPT is much more difficult for most coding engines.

Inpatient charts do tend to be larger which requires more concentration and work by a human coder, but processing a larger chart just takes the computer a little longer. It's still only ICD codes and the computer doesn't need a break after it processes a big chart.

The other issue is that a CAC engine is only as good as the electronic chart presented to it. Handwritten or image-scanned charts may not be able to be processed by a CAC engine.

This is why the PLATOCODE company has emphasized the use of CAC for Ambulatory care and Diagnostic Radiology: those areas often have a more complete electronic record so the CAC engine can maximize its benefit and deliver the biggest ROI.

In 2012, many healthcare providers have an increasingly electronic chart and there are new technologies that may allow processing even of handwritten material, so the value for inpatient CAC is rising all the time.