The most important language to master

Clinical codes are commonly used by independent practices for billing as well as recording clinical events, but making sense of all those letters and numbers can feel like trying to master a foreign language. 

Healthcode coding analyst Jess Donelan offers practical advice and looks at the wider potential of coding in the sector. He also explains how Healthcode is using its expertise to make the world of codes accessible for all.

Unless you are a techie, you are unlikely to spend much time thinking about codes and yet the truth is that they underpin our daily lives. 

In our age of technology, all our digital information is recorded in alphanumeric codes so it can be easily processed by organisations, from HM Revenue and Customs to membership organisations and retailers. 

This is particularly relevant to the healthcare sector where it is necessary to collect masses of information about patients, morbidity and treatments to track the progress of disease and make timely and informed decisions about matters such as resource allocation. 

Clinical coding allows this vital data to be recorded in a standard format so it can be analysed in seconds by computer and shared with other healthcare providers. 

In the independent healthcare sector, clinical coding has not been embraced as it has in the NHS, but this is changing. 

Here are the main types of clinical codes you are likely to come across as an independent practitioner, and their uses: