AHIMA Studying ICD-10 Impact on Coding, Productivity

Hoping to get a definitive look at how ICD-10 implementation has impacted coding productivity and accuracy, the AHIMA Foundation and AHIMA has launched a phased series of studies.

The first study is being conducted throughout May with 500 phone calls being placed with AHIMA members listing “coding professional” or a related title in their membership profile who also hold a corresponding coding credential. Individuals will be invited to participate in the survey, and those who do will be entered to win an American Express gift card. Calls will start taking place this week and will ask participants about their perception of ICD-10’s impact.

The hope is this research will help the HIM profession and AHIMA better understand the needs of coding professionals, and how AHIMA can better assist coding professionals with ICD-10 use. The calls will ask participants whether they feel ICD-10 impacted coder accuracy and coder productivity, if accuracy and productivity has decreased or increased, and if they have suggestions for how AHIMA can better serve the coding community.

Interviews will be completed by June, at which point review of the data will begin by AHIMA Foundation researchers. The results of the analysis are expected to be released in a report by July 1, and will analyze perceptions by setting, such as inpatient, outpatient, long-term care, behavioral health, etc.

“In order for AHIMA to better serve our members and the profession we need to collect scientifically rigorous data,” said William Rudman, PhD, RHIA, executive director of the AHIMA Foundation. “The coder productivity study will provide initial baseline data on how the implementation of ICD-10 impacted coder productivity and accuracy in order for AHIMA to provide necessary support to our coding professionals.”

This first baseline study will be followed by a more in-depth analysis and real world assessment of coding accuracy and productivity at various care provider settings, conducted later this year or in early 2017.

21 Comments

  1. It will be important to note whether the coder is utilizing a CAC product when coding. Based on our experience and contact with others in the industry ICD 10 has had less of an impact on coder productivity and accuracy if CAC is utilized. I would like to be a participant in the survey if possible.

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    • I would like to participate in this survey.

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      • I’m just curious why AHIMA members are the only participants. I would guess that there are many, many AHIMA-credentialed professional coders that are not organization members.
        Whether or not a coder chooses a professional membership does not lessen our coding experience and insight.

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        • Thank you for your comment. The sample was drawn from the AHIMA membership database as these individuals have confirmed agreement to participate in study activities.

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  2. I believe that the impact of ICD 10 on coder productivity was directly related to the amount and quality of the training/practice that they experienced prior to Oct 1. While the delays of implementation were not welcomed, they certainly gave our organization additional time to prepare. Initially the coder productivity declined 30/25 percent by inpatient and outpatient coding respectively and is slowly improving.

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  3. I’m interested to conduct a parallel research in indonesia. Do you think it’s possible? If so, do you mind to send me the research guidance and instrument to do that. As you might know, i’m the head of medical record and health information at malang state polytechnics of health, in indonesia

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    • We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this type of parallel research with you! if you could please email research@ahimafoundation.org it would be very much appreciated.

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  4. Really? It appears that AHIMA is supporting the dummy down from professional status of coders to data entry clerk status by support of CDI who while may have CPC or Train the Trainor under their belts have never actually sat and coded records day after day yet are often putting orders to coders on their work sheets like ” Coder code:….” Followed by a list. This appears to be a trend that may result in disaster for Coders and the future of coding as a Profession.

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    • Deborah, your insight is spot on!!! I am disappointed in this mindset but I see it is definitely occurring. 🙁

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  5. I think this is a great way of gauging ICD-10 and truly speaking directly with the folks close to the work.

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  6. The results of this survey will prove to be very interesting. In response to a previous post I think although CAC systems are used they may still have an affect on accuracy and productivity due to the excessive use of cut and paste as well as a continued lack of specificity.

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    • Cut and paste is a function in many EHRs. At my facility we are finding that when we query a physician on an element of his documentation (e.g. a cardiologist documents pt has DM and is on insulin), he often asks that we query another physician due to this whole cut and paste madness (because this element was copied from another MDs note). Without proper identification of where the notation came from and who wrote it, we are without query reply. On the other hand, if the author is noted, then we run the risk of querying a physician who did not see the patient during that encounter. What is the lesser of two evils?

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  7. I am interested to see results too. While the of CAC can help a bit the actual need for a coder will still be evident. There are many things that are included in assigning the most specific code possible. Getting in the general area for outpatient and provider claims by using CACs will not be sufficient with HCC’s and risk coding. Would love to help on study if needed.

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    • I’m very interested in the result of this survey! Also waiting to see what types of productivity standards are or will be utilized with ICD-10. We saw an initial slow down in productivity but now is much much better. Speaking to the coders is the very best way to gauge what’s going on. I hope you will include large, small, urban, rural, and CAHs in every state so we get a real feel!

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  8. It’s a matter of coder productivity vs Coder’s ethics. I’m interested in this study.

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  9. My hope is when this is published it contains important information such as: Do the OP coders PCS code, do they work NCCI edits or is this done by someone else pre-billing, do they work medical necessity edits, do they post IV charges/codes for observations, do IP coders write their own queries, etc? So many variables to productivity and many managers use these types of studies to set internal standards.

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  10. It will be important to know the job setting, if abstraction is also performed as part of their job function, if an EHR is used and if an encoder is part of the coding process. My IP staff have really picked up ICD10 and are doing wonderfully. My OP staff are taking longer to acclimate and still struggle with getting the accuracy from the physicians for anything other than “unspecified” code assignment. There are far too many niches to pin point a standard for production based coding. A production “expectation” perhaps, but not a steadfast figure.

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  11. It’s important to also know the environment in which individuals are working, i.e. do they use a CAC, what types of abstracting are they doing, do they add PCS to outpatient, etc. Knowing what their environment looks like will help us compare apples to apples.

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  12. I would love to be a part of this survey. Productivity standards has been a pet peeve of mine for 23 years. It’s funny that when charts were paper, I could code a minimum of 20 even at large Level 1 Trauma, teaching hospitals. My productivity has taken a nose dive since the implementation of the EHR. The programs used to code are never coder friendly. A coder ends up having to look in so many different places to get the needed information, and even then you end up doing a query thanks to cut and paste. Cut and paste should be done away with. Period! There has to be something better.

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  13. Do you have any results yet from this study?

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  14. Interested in the results from this study

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