CPT Codes: What’s In It?

CPT Codes: What’s In It?

CPT codes and ICD codes are the terms used when discussing medical situations, and are used by the insurance and medical billing companies as guides. Nitin Chhoda describes the categories and roles of these codes as they relate to the physical therapy business.

CPT codes definitionCPT stands for Current Procedural Teminology. The CPT codes have been set and maintained by the American Medical Association and they are updated every year in October.

One of the easiest ways to understand the CPT codes is to compare them to ICD codes. While ICD-10 codes identify the diagnosis of a patient, CPT codes identify the services rendered.

CPT codes are used by clinicians, medical billing and coding professionals, and patients, as well as accreditation organizations, as a standardized communication tool for talking about medical services.

In fact, the reason that CPT codes are so useful is that everyone uses them when referencing medical services. The most prominent uses are in medical coding and billing, when a clinic needs to bill an insurance provider or government program. Medicare and Medicaid are both billed using CPT codes list along with ICD-10 codes.

Categories and Sections

CPT codes come in three categories, Category I, II, and III. Category I is split into six sections: Codes for Evaluation and Management, such as home services, hospital observation services, or emergency dept services; Codes for Anesthesia, such as obstetric, head, or neck; Codes for Surgery, such as nervous system, digestive system, or general; Codes for Radiology, such as nuclear medicine, diagnostic ultrasound, or mammography; Codes for Pathology & Laboratory, such as drug testing, immunology, or transfusion medicine; and Codes for Medicine, such as dialysis, allergy & clinical immunology, acupuncture, and ophthalmology.

Categories II and III are a little different. Category II are CPT codes that measure performance and are entirely optional. Category III are CPT codes for emerging technology use.

Not OptionalCPT codes defined

CPT codes are required by health insurance companies, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, in order for medical or physical therapy billing to be successful.

Additionally, HIPAA requires that CPT codes are used as part of a national data standardization and collection effort.

However, the copyright for CPT codes is help by the American Medical Association (AMA). That means that anyone who uses the CPT codes must pay license fees. This usually falls on the shoulders of health care services providers.

Insurance companies and government programs also use CPT codes as a reference for the amount of reimbursement that the clinician or clinic is paid for services. Insurance companies will negotiate with health care service providers in order to determine the precise amount, but once the amount for a service is set, all both parties need to know is which CPT code to use and the payment can be made in the agreed upon amount.

Updates and Improvements

But paying for access to CPT codes isn’t all bad. The AMA maintains the system and ensures that updates are made every year. The resulting system provides all users with a way to share information quickly and in a standardized way. The AMA has workshops to get informed feedback in order to make the system easier to use. The uniformity that CPT codes provide benefits everyone who works in medicine.

Physical Therapy Software Best Choices

Physical Therapy Software Best Choices

Before buying a physical therapy software, make sure you know what your practice needs. Nitin Chhoda shares the one question every practitioner should ask first, before they can choose the best software that is right for their practice.

physical therapy softwarePhysical therapy software system affects your entire experience depending on what type of EMR you choose.

For some practices, price is a dominant factor. But cutting corners can backfire, and most cheap physical therapy software is going to cut some corners.

Before you decide what you can spend, think about what you need. If the EMR you choose doesn’t work for you, it probably won’t be worth any amount of money.

Look at Your Practice First

The first step towards choosing the right web-based physical therapy software is looking at what your practice will need. You’ve likely heard that EMRs for physical therapy software and services can increase efficiency and improve your bottom line. That’s only true if you’ve got some inefficiency that can be reduced with an EMR.

Ask yourself a few questions. Is your medical billing conducted on a regular and timely schedule? What is the percentage of rejected or denied claims you receive? Is your staff slightly overwhelmed with paperwork? How often do errors occur that upset your patients?

If you are having trouble in any of these areas, and most practices have more than one of these problems, it is very likely that physical therapy software can help. Scheduling, billing, and patient management are integrated in good PT documentation software. Does that sound like something that will reduce the number of steps each staff member has to take to do their job? Good.

Understanding the Benefits

physical therapy software best choiceAs soon as you know what you need, you can develop some goals. These goals for your practice should be independent of whether or not you get physical therapy software.

But if you design your goals around what will improve efficiency and your bottom line, then you will be ready to ask the most important question: will this physical therapy management solution help us to meet our goals?

If billing is your main concern because you get a lot of claim rejections and denials that need to be re-filed, then make sure that the billing system is integrated and comprehensive in the physical therapy software you are considering.

If one of your goals is to improve the professionalism in your office with a sophisticated system, make sure that the system actually provides improved consistency in billing, patient care, and communication.

Choose the Best Physical Therapy Software for Your Practice

Remember that EMR implementation can be taxing and frustrating for staff. Make sure that the physical therapy software company offers training and instruction for staff, both before, during, and after implementation.

Lastly, no matter what kind of physical therapy software you choose, make sure that it is intuitive to use. The most important thing about any physical therapy software is that it will be easy for your staff to use. You want the staff to become more efficient, right? Do not sacrifice intuitive interfaces and useful tools for a better price, because you will not get the results that you want if your staff can’t use the software.

Electronic Medical Records: Not Just Another Documentation Software

Electronic Medical Records: Not Just Another Documentation Software

Using electronic medical records system goes beyond efficiency metrics, its about managing your practice.  Nitin Chhoda discusses the power of the scheduling feature, and how important it is to manage cancelled or missed appointments. 

electronic medical records softwareThe medical world is currently undergoing a digital revolution.

Paper records that for a long time was the only way to keep track of patients, are being replaced by digital databases and electronic medical records.

But this trend is more significant than just a change in how documentation is handled. Physical therapy software that tracks every aspect of treatment—from scheduling and prescriptions to billing—will change.

Occupational Therapy Software

Occupational therapy software marks a monumental shift in how the business of physical therapy management is done by implementing electronic medical records. With occupational therapy software for electronic medical records, you are still administering your patients’ files.  However, there will be a tonal shift in how everything is approached.

By adopting a digital-first approach, the documentation process becomes instant.  Your patients can sign in on an iPad, and their presence is instantly recorded in your database. When you see them, you know when the appointment actually begins because it is recorded instantly.  That gives you useful metrics on how efficient your practice is, and how long the wait time really is.

That’s just one benefit of having an electronic medical records. But physical therapy scheduling software for electronic medical records goes beyond efficiency metrics. The software is about managing your practice, after all.  One of the most powerful features is the ability to handle cancelled or missed appointments.

electronic medical recordsCancelled or Missed Appointments

As a physical therapist, you know the pain of having a patient cancel on you.

That slot is usually lost time, because scheduling a new appointment is usually more work than anyone has time for if you don’t use an electronic medical records yet.

Keeping track of cancellations can be incredibly difficult, and usually there is no way to manage a schedule without a single person handling every change – an almost impossible proposition.  New appointments are rarely scheduled to replace the missed one, costing you money and making your practice seem more busy than it actually is.

By adopting a fully digital practice like electronic medical records, any cancellation or missed appointment is immediately logged. 

Everyone looking at the calendar immediately sees the change.  The second someone cancels their appointment, that time slot is available again for another patient.

New Type of Documentation Software

All that said, electronic medical records management software is an incredible type of documentation software.  It makes keeping track of tests, progress, and prescriptions incredibly simple.  With a quick and easy electronic query, you get all the information you have on a patient.

And if another facility also uses electronic medical records keeping, you can get their records instantly. Which brings us to perhaps the most compelling aspect of electronic physical therapy management software: the ability to send and receive patient information without resorting to the mail or the fax machine.

High-resolution images, full documents written in legible text, and all test results can be sent or received in a matter of seconds without wasting paper or needing a receptionist to man the print desk.

Electronic medical records are more than just another piece of documentation software.  They will set your firm free from the tyranny of sloppy record keeping, make looking up patient information painless, and simply improve every aspect of running your practice.

Physical Therapy Documentation System Benefits

Physical Therapy Documentation System Benefits

Changing your physical therapy documentation to an automated setting is now possible. Nitin Chhoda discusses the advantages of using an electronic medical records (EMR) system that will automate your documentation process.

He specifies the benefits of using a web-based setting, and provides examples of how an automated system can provide your practice with instant access to patient records.

physical therapy documentationPhysical therapy documentation has different systems. Maintaining paper records system has become something of a legacy in most industries.

Electronic databases have taken over the world, hosting large quantities of data that previously would have been unthinkable.

But despite this worldwide shift, the medical profession continues to operate mostly on paper.

Only 10% of US medical practices have a fully-integrated physical therapy documentation solution, while a slightly larger but still unreasonably small 20% have some form of electronic medical records.

That is terrible. Especially considering that web-based physical therapy documentation systems are now so powerful. There are physical therapy documentation tips provided in other part of this website.

As of the moment, here are some of the advantages that a web-based solution have over other options for physical therapy documentation.


“Web-Based” Means “Available Everywhere”.

By basing your physical therapy EMR system on a web-based tool, you are ensuring that you can reach the files no matter where you are. Websites are reachable from anywhere that there is an internet connection, and this means that you could access and read over your records at home, when making house calls, or when someone needs an over-the-phone consultation.

Physical therapy documentation for physical therapy services that are based on the web make sure that your files are reachable when you want them, no matter where you want them. And that is something you just can’t do with paper records.

Send with Ease.

Just like you can access the files from anywhere, you can give other physical therapists access to your records with little difficulty.

physical therapy documentation system

This is where web-based solutions truly begin to beat even other physical therapy documentation systems that are based on local servers.

When your data is stuck on a server at your office, you aren’t going to be able to share them as easily as you can with a web-based server.

Access from Any Device.

Want to use your records on an iPad? No problem! A web-based solution is easily accessible on an iPad. Other local types of physical therapy documentation software usually aren’t.

Being accessible from an iPad from anywhere means that you can take a small, lightweight tablet with you wherever you go, documenting the case as you work. It makes managing each patient record incredibly simple.

And of course, if you decide that your office wants to use Mac instead of Windows computers, well, that’s no problem.

Unlike solutions that use dedicated clients to access the information, a web-based physical therapy documentation solution is capable of being viewed on any device with an internet connection and a browser.

A Single Web Server Means Less Maintenance.

Here’s something you probably didn’t think about: managing software upgrades with traditional physical therapy documentation software means upgrading every computer that runs the software and troubleshooting problems that occur on each. But with a web-first approach, a cloud-based EMR tool only has to be updated once.

All changes will instantly be pushed out to all computers that access the tool. Going web-based for your physical therapy documentation solution just makes sense. It simplifies the difficulty of server management even as it makes your data simpler to access.