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Latest News 07 September | Ever wondered how a health service understands what its community needs?

One of the ways is through the work of health or clinical coders, who work to put together an overall picture of hospital activity.

By interpreting descriptions of diseases and diagnostic procedures from patient notes in codes, coders piece together a bigger picture.

That picture helps to make decisions about how to fund and provide services, explains Chander Sharma, who joined Counties Manukau Health’s clinical coding department in 2012.

Mr Sharma, like all clinical coders, has a medical background and has completed clinical coding certification.

He describes the role as challenging, in a good way.

“A coder never stops learning. There are always new coding standards and software updates. Along with our usual workload we get priority cases so it can get very demanding. We also must maintain a very high level of accuracy at the same time," Mr Sharma says.

Clinical coder  Lorenz Pilapil says chasing patient charts around the hospital, following up with medical staff to confirm information, answering coding queries, and double-checking the data, are all in an average day for clinical coders.

Fellow coder Lawrence Bautista began his coding career in the Philippines and undertook further training when he arrived in New Zealand, namely Accelerated Coding Education, which is offered through Waikato.

Mr Bautista and his colleagues make up a team of 18 clinical coders and one manager at CM Health.

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