A Short History Of Medical Coding

The debate over health care has been a hot topic in recent years. Everyone seems to be discussing the effects of the recent shifts in the healthcare system. The remarkable development in medical billing over the past few decades is a topic of much discussion. While it’s not too difficult to avoid problems with medical billing, if something goes wrong, it could take years to fix.

In terms of financial significance, a medical coding company stands head and shoulders above all else. Accurate coding is especially important for insurance companies to pay the service provider. Where did all of these codes come from, though? The history of medical coding spans centuries; by looking back, we may hopefully see where it’s going in the future.

The Origin Of Medical Coding And Billing


According to historians, medical coding as we know it now may be traced back to 17th-century England. To facilitate the collection and analysis of data, the London Bills of Mortality were assigned a numeric code at the time. By comparing these codes, we could establish the leading causes of death.

The Introduction Of The ICD

The World Health Organization (WHO) employed this approach to monitor global mortality rates and healthcare advancements, and it eventually evolved into the “International List of Causes of Death.” The International Classification of Diseases works as a compilation of all diseases, disorders, injuries, and other health situations that grew from this original list.

That permitted:

  • Access to health records that can be easily retrieved, stored, and analyzed to make well-informed decisions.
  • The process of exchanging and comparing data on health care between different settings, including clinics, hospitals, regions, countries, and ecosystems.
  • Time series analysis involves contrasting sets of numbers from the same geographic place collected at different times.

Recent Developments

Many updates have been made to the ICD since it was first published to improve coverage and clarity. The International Classification of Diseases was already in its sixth edition when the WHO took over its maintenance in 1948. Since then, it has undergone four revisions, the most recent being in 1992 with the introduction of ICD-10. The eleventh edition of the ICD (ICD-11) was approved in May 2019 and is expected to become mandatory in January 2024.

Current Procedural Terminology

The Current Procedural Terminology is the second half of the coding puzzle that’s just as crucial in today’s medical operations (CPT).

CPT conveys consistent information regarding medical services (including diagnostic and surgical) and procedures. This is disseminated among physicians, patients, coders, accreditation agencies, and those paying for further administrative, financial, and analytical uses.

The Level I of the HCPCS is managed by the American Medical Association (AMA).

Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System, Level II


Level II of the HCPCS is the last major component of current coding practices. The scope of this definition includes all services rendered to a patient during their visit, including but not limited to medication and supplies.

Importantly, this is a cornerstone of the development of medical billing. A large part of modern medical coding and billing development may be attributed to the integration of the ICD-10 and the HCPCS, Levels I and II.

The State Of Medical Coding Today

More than 72,000 codes are now part of ICD-10, with 619 added so far this year. Insurance coverage and treatment decisions rely heavily on accurate medical coding.

These medical codes are essential for health plans like Medicaid, from the planning stage through disease monitoring in statistics. The medical coding industry has been revolutionized by modern technology, although insurance companies are still mailing in records. One can be more productive while working from home on a laptop. Medical billing and coding have definitely come a long way from their inception, and learning their history is fascinating.

Guidelines for medical billing and coding and the storage and security of patient information are likely to evolve as medicine increasingly relies on technology and electronic medical records. For the 2017 fiscal year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have approved adding 3,651 ICD-10 codes for hospital inpatient procedures and about 1,900 ICD-10 diagnosis codes. In October 2016, the new regulations will be put into effect.

The field of medical coding is currently at a historical turning point, and the healthcare industry’s future is bright.

Medical Coding’s Past, Present, And Future


Because of the recent pandemic, many businesses have realized they need to make operational adjustments. Employees’ ability to work remotely is becoming increasingly valuable to ensure the security of social isolation policies.

Telehealth services have become increasingly popular in healthcare, as they provide a remote diagnosis. More and more businesses are providing high-quality medical coding and billing services remotely for a fraction of the price of hiring an in-house specialist.

The field of medical coding is experiencing tremendous growth at the moment. Many facets of a medical coder’s day-to-day existence will shift due to the ICD-10 system, which ushers in a new era in the American medical profession.

Guidelines for medical billing and coding and the storage and security of patient information are likely to evolve as medicine increasingly relies on technology and electronic medical records.

Lastly, the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, will likely be replaced by something else when you’ve worked long enough. Hence, medical coding has a rich past and a promising future.

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