Issues with incomplete documentation are an unfortunate inevitability in the world of medical coding. Providers are just as human as coders, which means they make mistakes that might necessitate a query in order to clear matters up. Depending on your provider and their temperament, this process can be anything from a casual chat to a hair-pulling process of questions and delays. If you want to make the most of a physician’s time and get back to coding as quick as possible, consider these simple tips for communicating with providers.

  • Make sure you understand each other. No amount of queries will get you anywhere if the provider misunderstands what you’re asking for. Make sure your questions are clear, and offer any explanations as needed. Bluntly asking “Does that make sense?” can sometime come off as rude and belittling, so do your best to ask in a polite and professional manner.

  • Be concise. Unless you have a close relationship, communicating with providers should be a short process. Don’t beat around the bush, and certainly don’t go off on tangents, especially if the provider is busy.


  • Don’t assume. Asking leading questions such as “Did you mean to mark __ instead of __?” is a bad idea all around. Not only does it undermine the physician’s authority, but it also makes it seems as though you are attempting to make the diagnosis yourself. Instead, ask more open-ended questions such as “Can you better explain __?”


  • Follow up. If you can, check back in with your provider at a time that is convenient for both of you in order to thank them and continue to build your relationship. By building a professional rapport, you will make future queries even easier.

Communicating with providers doesn’t have to be a difficult process. As long as you keep everything polite, respectful, and concise, you’ll be on your way to a completed claim in no time.