Convention Q and A: Coder Confidence During Changing Times

The 2015 AHIMA convention session, “Coder Confidence During Changing Times” will take place Saturday, September 26 in the La Nouvelle Ballroom of the Morial Convention Center New Orleans. Journal of AHIMA recently spoke with presenter Laura Legg, RHIT, CCS, AHIMA-approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer, from the Healthcare Resource Group based in Spokane, WA, for a preview of the session.


Laura Legg, RHIT, CCS

Laura Legg, RHIT, CCS

Journal of AHIMA: What are you hoping members will take away from your session?

Legg: The session will shine a spotlight on coders and what they need to do to make a successful transition to ICD-10. This is an exciting time to be a coder, but it is also a stressful time. ICD-10 implementation is the biggest change in healthcare in more than 20 years, and coders are right in the middle of it. As a result, they need all the support we can give them. The demands are higher than ever before; therefore the expectations are also high.

I also want attendees to think about creating opportunities for student coders. Students entering the field of coding need to be embraced by our industry for training and mentoring. With the ongoing coder shortage, we need students to go into the specialty of coding. They will need training programs to get them grounded in the coding guidelines and hands-on coding experience.


How do you think that coders respond to changes?

Legg: Coders are used to change, so without a doubt they will step up for this change as well. We must provide coders with a learning and collaborative environment where they can thrive during this implementation. This can be done with time, educational resources, constant feedback, and networking.


Tell us what you mean by being a “confident coder?”

Legg: Confident coders are productive coders. Confident coders code it right the first time and are able to explain the rationale for why they assigned the codes they assigned for each record. Confident coders are much less likely get stuck in “analysis paralysis.” This presentation is all about providing the resources and learning environment to make this possible.


What are some current expectations for coders in the workplace?

Legg: Today’s coders are expected to do more in a complex coding system and do it very well. Some are being recruited to change their specialty and the scope of their work. For example, some outpatient coders are being recruited to move to inpatient coding. Transcriptionists are also being recruited into coding because of their knowledge of medical terminology and details of operative reports. ICD-10 is opening up opportunities for a lot of people and that is exciting.


What will attendees of your session be able to incorporate right away?

Legg: Almost everything in the education session can easily be incorporated right away from time management, stress management, and networking. These tips do not involve a lot of work, just attention, focus, and support from the management team.

This session was developed for coders at all skill levels. I was a coder for 16 years, so I understand what a critical role these professionals fill in healthcare. I’m hopeful that coder confidence can steer a little more attention and resources in their direction.


To see Legg’s presentation at AHIMA’s Annual Convention and Exhibit in New Orleans this year, see the info below:

Coder Confidence During Changing Times

Laura Legg, RHIT, CCS

Level 2, La Nouvelle Ballroom of the Morial Convention Center

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