How I Turned a Snickers Bar Label into a Medical Coding Lesson

Since I am the creator, author, maintainer, and webmaster of a number of medical assisting, medical coding, billing, and phlebotomy web sites I recently enrolled in the IWA "Web Content Writing and Editing" class to enhance and refine my writing skills. I am just starting the second week, but so far it has truly been interesting, and fun, and I have already learned quite a bit. There are new lessons for each week, and for each lesson there is an assignment.

For example, week two-instructions were to read something--anything--that happens to be close at hand and write an article about it that fits into our web site. This exercise was meant to show us that when it comes to creative writing, anything can be an inspiration.
For your enjoyment, here is a copy of my assignment response:

Week 2 - Assignment 2:
I am writing an article for my Medical Coding and Billing web site. Since the instructions given for this assignment are to read anything that is nearby I will look no further than my cluttered computer desk. The first thing I spot is a plastic container of Pledge Furniture Cleaning/Polishing wipes way in the back, then to my left, on a stack of papers, an unopened Snickers bar. On the label I read: Hungry? Grab a Snickers. Net Wt. 2.07 oz. That caught my attention!

I guess I could probably work with it. I just would have to be a bit more creative than if I chose the medical terminology and medical coding books stacked on the right-hand side on my computer desk. The Snickers bar seems "doable". To accomplish this writing challenge, a good place to start might be to go over the list of ingredients, define, and analyze them with focus on nutrition and health related issues, then identify adverse reactions, or diseases that could be caused, or perpetuated by certain ingredients, such as sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, lactose, skim milk, milk fat, soy, lecithin, peanuts, corn syrup, egg whites, and then list associated interventions and treatments.

In the next paragraph I could then show my readers how to turn the diagnoses, and associated treatments into combinations of codes that medical coders use when they submit a claim to tell the health insurance company what was wrong with a patient and the services that were provided. The article would turn out to be a coding lesson based on the ingredients of a Snickers bar. LOL

However, if I wanted to save myself this headache, then I should probably better go with the medical coding books stacked in the back of my desk. I would then simply whip up an article about the basics of medical coding, what it is, and what it is used for, what a medical coder does, and does, where they work, and what they earn; then go into details of their vocational training requirements, and how they can advance in their chosen career, and leave it at that! Simple.

But then again, given the two choices, rather than having to read those darn medical coding books all over again, and winding up with yet another dry article about medical coding, I'd prefer, at this time, to go with the Snickers bar!!! Plus, there is another temping advantage: I can take off the wrapper, analize the label, write my article, and then eat this peanutty, chocolaty, delicioius treat.


I continued to add the following resources to support my point of unhealthy ingredients in a Snickers bar, that may lead to certain conditions, or diseases, that then can be diagnosed, and coded by medical coders, so that the healthcare provider can be reimbursed for his/her services:

1. To provide basic information on ingredients and their nutritional values: Nutrition Facts and Food Composition Analysis for Candies, M&M MARS, SNICKERS Bar

2. To provide additional information how certain ingredients in a Snickers bar migh have a negative effect on health: Carbs and Fiber in Snickers Bar

3. To provide more specific information on long-term health effects of eating high-GI foods: Health Effects of High Glycemic Value Carbs

4. And last but not least, now the medical coding part: CIGNA Medicare Part B - ID LMRP 97-011 - Blood Glucose Testing




What would you have chosen to write a creative medical coding and billing article? The coding books, the Snickers bar, or may be the Pledge Furniture Cleaning Wipes way back on my desk, or something else? Please feel free to comment!

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