Outsourcing is one of the most significant strategic decisions that any firm has to undertake. It is seen as a way to reduce undue costs, improve growth, and put more focus on important things – hence enhancing the quality of service. For this reason, medical practices are adamant about outsourcing anything, which only puts unnecessary strain on their resources and affects their overall productivity.
Coding is crucial for the well-being of a practice – and any errors committed in coding can bring in losses and denied claims. Therefore, practices usually prefer outsourcing this arduous task to accredited coding services. However, selecting which service to opt for is the real question.
Here, we will discuss the myths that people, in general, have regarding coding services. We will also enlist the pros and cons of domestic coding services and international coding services.
The myths – debunked
- Data Security:
It is commonly believed that international coding services may not implement the requisite protocols of security, something which seasoned domestic coding services do. However, that is not true. Reputed international coding services also deploy the same SOPs of data safety, which are mandated by the US Government and honor all state and federal compliances.
Another misconception that people have is that international coding services are not proficient at coding and they may not fulfil the practice needs aptly. In fact, international coding services have a more comprehensive portfolio than that of domestic coding services and are more than capable of meeting the precise demands.
- Language Barrier:
Language barrier has always been an issue between native English speakers and those who use English as their second language. However, most international coding services deploy only those personnel who can effectively communicate in English. In this way, international coding services have effectively eliminated issues pertaining to the language barrier.
- Training Costs
People also feel that international coding services incur hefty costs while training their employees regarding domestic coding needs. That is not entirely true. In fact, domestic coding services can face higher training costs because of high employee payrolls. Overall, training costs are more or less the same for both coding services.
Pros of International Coding Services
- Serve a bigger audience:
International coding services serve customers from around the world and have more experience than domestic coding services. They have a broader understanding of the needs of clinical providers and can offer smarter and tailored solutions as per the specific requirements of the practice.
- Reasonably priced:
International coding services are usually better priced as compared to the domestic coding services. This is because international coding services are usually based in countries where pay scales are comparatively lower than that in the US. This reduces the overall cost of providing coding services.
Cons of International Coding Services
- No physical presence
The biggest drawback of international coding services is that many of them do not have any regional office in the US. This becomes a problem if a client wants to meet the representatives from that particular coding service in person.
- US laws may not apply on them
In general, international coding services take the utmost care when it comes to data safety. However, in the event of an unfortunate data breach, US laws may not be fully applicable to the responsible international coding service. A data breach caused by any domestic coding service may result in fines as high as $1.5 million per violation. This might not be the case if the coding service is international. In fact, the provider will probably have no way to get compensated for the theft and misuse of protected health information (PHI).
- Issue of Time Zone Differences
International coding services are usually in an altogether different time zone and observe their own local holidays. In this way, a typical working day in US may be a local holiday in the native country of the international coding service. This can be a little problematic, especially if the provider has a serious coding problem, and he promptly needs to speak to the representative of the billing company.
- Implementation may take time
Due to geographical differences, international coding services may take time to implement their services. This is because they have to do everything virtually, from setting up their system to training their clients, which naturally takes more time as compared to doing things physically.
Pros of Domestic Coding Services
- Physically Present
Domestic coding services are physically present in the US. They have their regional offices where one-to-one meetings can also take place. Being physically present in the US, domestic coding services enjoy greater faith of the providers.
- Understand US Litigations Better
Domestic coding services usually understand the US litigations better than international coding services. Being physically in the country, they have a better view of their surroundings and usually respond to coding changes faster than their international counterparts.
- Faster Implementation
Domestic coding services usually offer fast-track implementation. This is because they specialize in only US coding and all their resources are focused on a single geographical domain. Being physically present allows such services to effectively interact with their clients, and understand their needs better, resulting in faster implementations.
- Follows Local Timings
Domestic coding services follow the US local time and observe only the US Holidays. Their representatives are available during the US working hours.
Cons of Domestic Coding Services
Domestic coding services are usually costlier. This is because the pay scales in the US are comparatively higher as compared to the developing countries, where the majority of international coding services thrive.
- Not geographically diverse
Domestic coding services do not serve practices outside the geographical barriers of the US. Such coding services are a little short on the overall experience of handling intricate coding problems, as compared to international coding services.
International vs Domestic Coding Services – In a nutshell
|Parameter||Domestic Coding Service||International Coding Service|
|Understands US laws and jurisdictions better||Yes||Sometimes|
|More Geographical Experience||No||Yes|
|Same time zone||Yes||No|
Outsourcing medical billing company can be a tricky decision to take. If a provider is looking for a cost-effective solution, they can opt for an international coding service. On the other hand, if a provider wants to consider a coding service that only specializes in the US market, then they may go with the domestic coding services. In any case, it is always advisable to compare alternatives from both categories of coding services and then make an informed decision, with regards to the needs of the practice.