MGMA 2009: New wiki offers community support for medical coders

Increasingly, online communities are emerging which give doctors a place to hang out among their own, including www.sermo.com, www.ozmosis.com, www.health.md, www.doctorshangout.com and more. Now, a small publisher is hoping to create a similar home base online for medical coders, medical practice administrators and physicians interested in coding issues.

The new site, Codapedia, launched at this year's HIMSS conference in April, was instigated by author Betsy Nicoletti, who writes for parent company Greenbranch Publishing. Since then, Codapedia seems to have drawn a great deal of interest. Given the extremely stressful transition groups face in moving from ICD-9 to ICD-10 coding, we weren't surprised to see the crowds thronging Greenbranch's MGMA booth.

Codapedia is a wiki-based site, meaning that anyone who joins can add content or pose questions--a key difference from sites like those run by the MGMA which only serve paid members. As with Wikipedia, membership is free. Unlike the world-famous Wikipedia, however, which is edited entirely by volunteers, the site employs editors who make sure content is accurate and properly formatted. 

Since its launch, Codapedia has already drawn 2,000 members and about 21,000 unique visitors, according to president Nancy Collins. (That's a pretty nice showing for a small publisher which hasn't invested in a serious promotional budget.)  Since its launch, Greenbranch has already attracted advertising to the site, with customers including AthenaHealth and CollaborateMD.

The site is something of a departure for Greenbranch, whose flagship product is a traditional paper medical journal, the Journal of Medical Practice Management. JMPM charges $239 per year for a subscription, and also has support from advertisers such as Bank of America and VaxServe. The company also sells trade books on key practice management issues at www.shopmpm.com.

Meanwhile, Collins has several irons in the new media fire. For example, the company has just launched "Fast Practice," a newsletter digesting the most critical information available for practice managers--available either in digital form or an audio version in MP3 format. Other online ventures include Soundpractice.net, which offers more than 150 20-minute podcasts related to practice management.

To learn more about the project:
- visit Codapedia

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