Health Information Management

Remote coding: The good, the bad, and the productivity

HIM-HIPAA Insider, September 6, 2011

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According to a survey on coder productivity published in the May edition of MRB, 83% of those with remote coding programs reported that coder productivity either remained the same or increased after they implemented a remote coding program at their facility. That's great news for those considering establishing a remote coding program. And there are many reasons to do so, both for your coding staff and for your hospital.

"The coders who work from home, they truly become much happier," said Deborah C. Beezley, RHIT, director of HIM at St. Anthony's Medical Center in St. Louis, who spoke during the June 27 HCPro audio conference, "Coder Productivity in Today's Environment: Strategies to Combat Challenges and Improve Efficiencies."
"We've seen a turn in behaviors," she said. "They are more amenable to change and transition."
Remote coding also allows for additional flexibility, not only in work hours (e.g., day, evening, or night shift), but also in terms of offering coders overtime when it is needed, said Beezley. "We've seen the coders want to help with extra support hours," she said. This allows the hospital to cover peak periods and balance out the accounts receivable. In addition, the coders are willing to come on-site to help out when necessary. St. Anthony's has a hybrid record, and occasionally paper needs to be handled. "If that gets backlogged a little bit, we've had coders volunteer to come in and deal with paper sometimes to catch us up."
Editor’s note: Click here to read the entire article in the September issue of Medical Records Briefing.

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