AHIMA Seeks More Coders for Participation in Productivity Survey

AHIMA Seeks More Coders for Participation in Productivity Survey

By Christi Lower, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA and Susan Fenton, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA


Trustworthy information and data on inpatient and outpatient coding productivity has been elusive in the four years since ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation.

Prior to October 2015, AHIMA offered well established and rigorous productivity standards for inpatient coding. There were concerns, however, that there would be a significant decline in coding productivity after the transition to ICD-10-CM/PCS—perhaps as much as a 50 percent drop.

AHIMA and other interested parties have offered updated coding productivity standards in the years since the inception of ICD-10-CM/PCS. However, none have been based on scientific research that considers the clinical setting in which the act of coding takes place, nor have they taken into account the other time-consuming tasks that coders must undertake outside of the coding process.

Healthcare providers have a difficult time establishing standards and guidelines for coding productivity for their own coding teams without industry benchmarks.

AHIMA is working to address this information gap with its own rigorous study of coding productivity—but it cannot do this without feedback from its own community of coding professionals.

That’s why AHIMA is looking for coding professionals who are at least 18 years of age and who spend at least 50 percent of their time coding in any healthcare environment to take the online survey at http://bit.ly/2kcINre. This study assesses productivity for coding in outpatient and inpatient settings and evaluates factors affecting productivity, such as interruptions of other tasks, the use of supportive technology, and work setting. The records of this study are kept private.

AHIMA has already completed the process of distributing a coding survey to a variety of health information management and coding professionals between August 6 and September 3, 2019.

This initial distribution resulted in the completion of 2,079 completed surveys. However, to ensure that the productivity study is based on the largest possible sample of coding professionals, AHIMA is extending the deadline for interested parties to complete the survey.

According to a preliminary analysis of individuals who have already completed the survey:

  • 71.8 percent were coders
  • 13 percent were coding directors/managers/supervisors
  • 50 percent of coders had an associate’s degree and 25 percent had a bachelor’s degree
  • 45 percent had a CCS credential
  • 43 percent had a RHIT credential
  • 9 percent had a RHIA credential

Regardless of setting or other qualifiers, the most-used coding productivity measure (reported by 51.1 percent of respondents) was the number of charts coded per hour, followed by number of charts coded per day (reported by 26.1 percent of respondents). The remaining respondents were either not sure (11.7 percent) or utilized a weighted formula (11.1 percent). There are many more results from this study now undergoing in-depth analysis. AHIMA looks forward to sharing these in detail as they become available.

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  1. I will participate if study is still ongoing

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