Clinical coding is important.
This is not news. It’s certainly no secret. The question that should be being asked now is ‘how can clinical coding be leveraged to maximise the efficiency of a hospital or health service?’ The links between accurate coding and revenue are obvious but while you may not think twice about investing in ward refurbishments and state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, are you investing enough into clinical coding to ensure that you’ve covered all possible bases for revenue?
We spoke to Anna Coote, Clinical Coding Manager for Synapse Medical Services with over 35 years of experience in Health Information Management and founder of the very first dedicated clinical coding company in Australia. She’s helped us compile a list of five easy to implement and cost effective ways to get the most out of your clinical coding and positively affect your revenue cycle performance.
- Have coding for all complex and long-stay cases reviewed by a senior coder.
Many large hospitals and health services have now embraced this practice of allocating a senior coder to review complex and long stay cases. This is especially true where junior coders are relied upon to complete the bulk of the workload. Having an experienced eye review these cases and pick up on conditions that have been missed more than pays for itself in terms of the extra revenue generated.
- Provide regular training sessions for coding staff, focusing on both clinical knowledge and coding skills.
This one speaks for itself, an upskilled coding work force leads to more accurate coding across the board increasing overall efficiency and boosting revenue. It’s important to note that education needs to cover clinical knowledge as much as skill within the ICD framework. Coders are translators of clinical records and need to have a sound understanding of that clinical content.
- Enable coder/clinician communication with oversight by senior coding and clinical management.
Coding queries are part and parcel of clinical coding, there will always be a need for some record entries to be clarified in order to be properly coded. Ensuring the lines of communication between the coders and the attending clinicians are direct and open leads to greater accuracy and more timely results. We can even expand on this to include encouraging clinicians to be open to working directly with clinical coders in order to better understand the process and the importance of appropriate documentation.
- Provide feedback to clinical coders.
Working in silos is an easy trap to fall into, especially in large organisations like hospitals. Taking a holistic approach to healthcare management is important to combat this. Providing regular feedback to your clinical coders in terms of how their work has directly impacted their organisation’s performance is important for their understanding of the significance of their role.
- Include clinical coding staff in as many relevant hospital meetings as possible.
Many major hospitals have started including clinical coding staff in their Grand Rounds. Like nursing and allied health staff, clinical coders are now being seen as an integral part of the holistic practice of medicine.
Here at Synapse we offer a full suite of both temporary and permanent remote clinical coding solutions. With the holiday season fast approaching we can provide easy to implement, short term coding coverage for staff absences. Signing up is quick and free, we offer simple and transparent per file pricing with 24 hour turnaround. Our coders are experienced in ICD-10 All Modifications.