December 2015

Medical Coding – Changing Trends


Gopi Natarajan
Co-Founder & CEO, Omega Healthcare

Omega Healthcare is adapting to the changes accompanied by ICD 10, shares Gopi Natarajan, Co-Founder & CEO, Omega Healthcare with Rachita Jha of Elets News Network (ENN)


What is the market potential of medical billing industry and how will it change with ICD 10 coding norms implemented in US?

Medical coding and billing is considered very crucial in healthcare industry. One of the advances in Business Process Outsourcing industry, medical coding and billing has emerged as one of the attractive and successful careers, which probably has a good amount of deficit of talent in the sector.

Now with the transition of the medical coding process from ICD-9 to ICD-10, it will create huge demand for certified medical coders across the globe, especially in US, Middle East and in India. The accelerating pace of technological changes and advancements has pushed the organisations across the globe to be more swift and agile to be a step ahead of the competition in the market, at the same time maintaining the quality of services being offered. Amidst all these, implementation of ICD is the next big step that will change the healthcare industry in US and the outsourcing industry across the globe.


What are your target customers and your presence in India?

We serve the niche segment market of revenue cycle management of healthcare sector in the US and include the hospitals, physicians and healthcare providers. This is also called medical coding and medical billing industry. The need for an third party partner who can add value and make the system more efficient, hassle free and smooth operations. We are one of the largest players in this segment in India. Our focus was to leverage the talent in India and the time difference to be able to provide better quality services to the US healthcare providers. We have a smaller footprint in the US and larger workforce is in India that caters to our US clients. We have been strategic to have a very focused and niche service of medical coding and our business model is based on the wholesale model that has its foundations on scale of Busniess. Currently, we operate in three cities in India, Chennai, Trichy and we are about 9500 employees and have an operation Manila, Philippines. Trichy is now our largest focus.

What are the growth drivers of the industry and how is ICD 10 changing the scale of medical coding Business?

ICD 10 is a big driver of this growth of the medical billing industry. And we have the largest talent pool of medical coders outside the US more than 2500 and represent a big segment of our business and are known for coding in the industry. And we have also started Omega Medical Coding Academy (OMCA) as we saw the skill gap of medical coders in India and it will help to sustain our business and get industry ready manpower. ICD 10 is a big shift in how medical coding is done from 16,000 to nearly 166,000 codes and will be a very complex process in which lots of systems and processes will have to change. We are on of the few companies today that are ready to code in ICD 10 while others are still waiting to see what happens ahead. A lot of our clients have already shifted to ICD 10 and we are serving them on the latest upgrades modules. The medical coding will accelerate by leaps and bounds following the onset of new coding norms in the US and its a huge opportunity for players in this industry to be right there at the right time.

You have most of your centres in South India, what are the key reasons for the same?

Initially we were associated with Manipal Group in Bangalore and the initial start of our venture began when they approached us to start operations from their facility in the city itself. The advantage of a ready infrastructure and technology support with ready to hire manpower made us take the decision to begin from Bangalore. These initial support was so good that we went operational in 45 days. Due to our roots in South India we have been present mainly in the southern cities as of now. These were strategic decisions to expand in cities to ensure operations are not hindered due to local risks. As our business is time sensitive with 24- hour cycle of critical operations, we have decided on cities that easily ensure business continuity for our customers.

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