Q: I am having trouble putting it all together! Reading a question and figuring out what to do and cardio issues. Can you go over cardio?
A: Just going over cardio, I came over some highlights, some tips because it’s a really broad subject. The first thing I would say when you’re going to be dealing with a cardiovascular system, the key tips is you need to know your anatomy, you need to know the physiology of disease processes, and you need to think about what you’re using as your resource materials. Because, actually, the vascular system, it’s just so diverse. It has so many working parts, and you think of septic as being something bad, but it is, it’s systemic, it goes to the entire body. Again, it’s very important to know those three points.
I put a little picture up there of just a little hint of the vascular system and the anatomy. All of those veins and arteries have specific names. Now, you don’t need to know those, but know that a lot of those are based on other anatomy, like, the bones. That’s where you get the subclavian artery, up here by your clavicle, things like that; so that helps to know. Not just the anatomy of the vascular system, but the anatomy of bones is also very important for the coder.
Back to Basics Cardio – Online Billing and Coding Classes – Video
Scroll down just a little bit and I also have some points that I wanted to say about how the heart works. I would say the first thing that if I’m wanting to understand the anatomy of the vascular system, cardiology, I would go straight to the structure of the heart. There are tons of resources out there for you to use, but knowing the main parts of the heart, the ventricles, the veins going in and the arteries and where they go, that is going to be essential. Know the different valves and some of the valves in the heart have different names, so you want to make sure you know them.
Then, again, for disease process, not just the atrium and the ventricles, but I would also bone up on your terminology. So, if you are dealing with something that’s a myocardium, that would be the muscle of the heart; pericardium, around the heart, things like that. That will be very helpful for you as you’re trying to do coding for cardiovascular. I know that seems kind of basic, but it really is what is the most helpful. We do this in chapter 10 of our PBC course. And I always tell them, “Heads up, when you get to chapter 10, it’s going to kick you a little bit.” What I have found that the people that take the time to really learn the anatomy of the heart and familiarize yourself with them, do much better at that chapter 10, than people that try to just go straight in and figure it out.
Also, I wanted to make a point and I know you heard Laureen say this and myself say this: “Google is your friend and that is a fantastic resource” so google images. I, if I’m not sure about something and don’t think that just because I’m up here telling you or lecturing you to use it that I know it, I don’t. I’m often jumping into Google and getting a picture of the heart or another organ system just so I can fine tune, say, “Oh, I was thinking it was this, but I’m not sure.” It’s almost like instant gratification to be able to bring up an image that is labeled like this so that you can find the actual structure of the circulatory system in the lower limbs quickly.
Some other reference tools that I would use is www.drugs.com. That is going to tell you the type of medications and what medications are used and you’re thinking, “Well, how will that help me with my coding?” But when you are reading a patient’s chart and you’re looking at an individual encounter, you see that a patient is on a certain medication, you’ll be able to draw that line and say, “Oh, they’re on Plavix.” I can go in and look and see what Plavix does and that will be helpful.
One of my favorite sites out there and I used to tell people at the college, and we also tell the PBC students and other students about this website, is www.biologycorner.com.
Or, if you’re really wanting to kind of zone in on cardiology itself, WebMD, you got to love WebMD. The only thing I would give you warning about WebMD and some of those like that, Mayo Clinic is another one, they’ve got another website; but WebMD it never fails, my husband looks at WebMD, he will type in a couple symptoms or something that you can do with that website. Next thing you know, he is dying of the bubonic plague, he tells me, or something; so you don’t want to be a hypochondriac. I’m not saying that he is, but you got to be very careful when you go to WebMD. But, again, it has fantastic resources.
Now, this is just the beginning, once you really learn the anatomy, the terminology and use these resources, really get in there and learn about the disease process. That’s going to help you abstract the information you need to code to the highest specificity. I would also suggest that you just open up your ICD manual and you flip open to the cardiology section and start looking around the 400s and just really look at the options that are in there.
Now, this past week when I told them I like to read the tabular for fun, I do. But what happens when you do that, you become aware of codes and diseases and parts of the disease process and the codes, that you may not have realized existed. So, if you’re struggling with cardiology, those are my tips that I would tell you to do and get into the practice of perusing through your tabular and getting to know the diseases. You don’t have to memorize the codes, but you might be aware of something that you didn’t know before. So, cardiology is a lot of fun when you really start digging into it, though.
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