HIM and CAC Work Together to Ensure Data Integrity

Leveraging computer-assisted coding (CAC) technology may lead to a measurable reduction in the amount of time coders need to code records, according to a recent study conducted by the AHIMA Foundation and the Cleveland Clinic Health System. The final results of the study were presented by Susan White, PhD, CHDA, clinical associated professor at Ohio State University and Lisa Knowles-Ward, RHIT, CCS, director of coding and reimbursement at Cleveland Clinic Health System Monday at the 2013 AHIMA ICD-10-CM/PCS and Computer-Assisted Coding Summit, taking place in Baltimore, MD this week.

In their presentation, “The Role of the HIM Professional and CAC Technology in Ensuring Data Integrity,” White and Ward discussed the relationship between CAC technology and the HIM professional, as well as the impact of data integrity as it relates to coding accuracy and timeliness.

The goal of the study was to develop a clear and concise understanding of the use of technology in addressing issues of healthcare reform and to reformulate thinking about humans interfacing with technology in the field.  Questions researchers sought to answer included:

  • Is there a measurable difference between traditional coders and the use of CAC in terms of coding accuracy and timeliness?
  • Will the use of credentialed coders in conjunction with the use of a CAC result in improved coding accuracy and timeliness?


The study was conducted in two phases. Phase I took place in July 2012, Phase II six months later in January 2013. Results showed that time to code records for the group of coders using CAC was significantly shorter than those without (22 percent reduction in time). This reduction in time was achieved without decreasing quality as measured by precision and recall for both procedures and diagnoses. The group is now very close to achieving a 30 percent increase in productivity, and the organization is bringing the method to additional facilities in 2014.

“We wanted the latest and greatest in technology and we wanted a tool to leverage against the loss of ICD-10 productivity.  We believe data should be clear, accurate and concise,” Ward said.

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