Health Information Management

Coders skills are crucial for successful EHR rollout

HIM-HIPAA Insider, August 6, 2012

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Should coders or coding managers be involved in an EHR rollout? The answer to this question is overwhel­mingly yes, experts say.

“AHIMA strongly recommends that coders be involved throughout the EHR implementation process in order to ensure data integrity and the highest-quality coding and billing,” says Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, FACHE, CEO of AHIMA in Chicago. “Coders possess unique knowledge and work experience related to work flow, system design, and data content standards.”

Coder involvement can help minimize delays in the revenue cycle after go-live, says Gordon, because they ­understand the primary and secondary uses of the data stored in an EHR. “They understand the capture and use of information from three ­different ­perspectives—clinical, administrative, and business,” she says. “Because they have this big-picture perspective, their knowledge is invaluable and can assist organizations in planning and preparing for successful implementation of an electronic health record.”

Unfortunately, coders and coding managers aren’t always involved in an EHR rollout, says Darice M. ­Grzybowski, MA, RHIA, FAHIMA, founder and president of HIMentors, LLC, in Westchester, Ill. “Even the HIM director has trouble being brought to the table these days,” she says.

Editor’s note: Read more in the August issue of Briefings on Coding Compliance Strategies.

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