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IRIS Health simplifies medical coding to make healthcare safer

We’ve often heard of the proverbial phase, to err is human. But when errors are made in the healthcare sector, it can cause serious consequences to one’s life. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) patient safety is a serious global public health concern. It is estimated that there is a 1 in 3 million risk of dying while travelling by airplane. In comparison, the risk of patient death occurring due to a preventable medical accident, while receiving health care, is estimated to be 1 in 300. To raise global awareness about patient safety, WHO has launched the World Patient Safety Day to be observed annually on 17 September.

One of the key areas that affects patient safety is communication – communication between the physician, the lab, the pharmacist and the third-party administrator to name a few. To help all providers be on the same page with a patient’s diagnosis, there exists medical coding in healthcare. Medical coding takes the descriptions of diseases, injuries, and health care procedures from physicians or health care providers and transforms them into numeric or alphanumeric codes to accurately describe the diagnosis and the procedures performed. Proper medical coding is important on many levels, from ensuring accurate payment for providers to creating a valid record of patient care history.

IRIS Health Services has designed customised, intelligent and intuitive dashboards for physicians that helps them assign appropriate International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD) or other coding at their fingertips without the need for specialist coders or extensive coding knowledge. As a goodwill gesture, IRIS Health is currently providing this training and service for free as a value-added bonus to all its medical service providers (MSP) in the Sultanate.

As out-patient volume is set to increase with the launch of Dhamani, this system is crucial because medical treatment is not always described in the same way by different doctors and medical service providers. There are many paths to take in preventing, diagnosing, and treating different ailments, all of which must be recorded and accounted for,’ said Dr. Ann Jacob, Chief Operating Officer of IRIS Health Services. ‘It is imperative to bridge any gaps in communication between medical service providers and their insurance providers and third-party administrators.’

IRIS’ Physician Support Tool has been developed after considering that most MSPs deploy information systems that are not compliant to international coding standards. It has been created as a simplified auto-fill feature that allows treating physicians to search for their diagnosis by description/investigation – the system then codes it appropriately without any additional input.

‘Our coding feature ensures that all data is standardised. This in-built tool saves costs for MSPs by eliminating the need for Medical Coders, which in turn reduces operational expenses,’ Dr. Jacob adds. ‘While service providers are already well versed in a few coding practices, it’s often difficult to stay up-to-date with new coding systems and standards. This is where our solution is an important tool for improving healthcare quality and safety. It prevents providers from making mistakes that can result in coding errors.’

IRIS is an award-winning third-party administrator that began operations in Oman in late 2018 with a commitment to foster the participation and training of nationals in the insurance sector.