If the central office learns that a specific code or DRG is being heavily scrutinized by federal entities, they will pull records from each facility and see how that code is being processed. "So I took a look at those to make sure they were correct.". (I’d immediately write “quality” all over consistent code, too, but I see how that’s somewhat a different debate. For example, Calin says, take a chart documenting congestive heart failure and hypertension. The corporate HIM department reviewers visit Avera hospitals and clinics on a routine basis to review chart documentation, coding, and billing practices. CAC also enables coders to expand their auditing capabilities, Phibbs notes. It tells computers what to do with data. "[Users of CAC] are getting fewer denials, fewer charts are being bounced back from the billing department, and auditing is coming in and they are seeing that the numbers just aren't as skewed as they used to be," she says. Inconsistent coding could be an indication that a facility's coders are not assigning the proper codes or are undercoding, which leads to lower reimbursement. In our own affairs, we should at least strive for level 1, but personally I’ve made great experience hooking myself up to some external level 3 standard (I’m following Google’s HTML/CSS guidelines with the only exception of using tabs instead of spaces) and defining, in detail, some complementary level 1-style standard (as with a predefined selector order). Coding managers should monitor the sources their staffs use to obtain coding advice. What is Qualitative Data Coding? Check out the developer challenge >> Code Review Best Practices For How to Run a Code Review Compare your skills to your peers. But staff working remotely often e-mail their questions, which may not convey a complete picture of the situation and the question, Bajer says. There are lots of good reasons why you should learn how to code. Each year Dorale's staff educates the entire system on coding changes, such as CPT updates and ICD-9 revisions. Bajer's department is currently developing authorized cheat sheets that will be distributed to all coders, each specific to their area of coding. I admit, there’s appeal to this, and we should probably study this, and yet from experience lack of guidelines (and thus lack of consistency) leads to much lost productivity because each time we look at other people’s code, we lose time orienting ourselves and understanding respective code. Use such iterations to deploy quality updates, and not waist time and resources on unreasonable desires and sacrifice with quality. Her main tools are organization-wide education sessions, compliance reviews, and open communication. Regular reviews are conducted to ensure the coding is consistent and on par with the rest of the Avera facilities. If staff is using untrustworthy resources for coding help, it could both throw off the coding consistency of their department and negatively impact reimbursement. After struggling to agree on a single style, we resolved to just letting the “owner” of a given project make those decisions about it, which has kept us all comfortable and consistent and off each other’s toes. No matter how good you think you are: don’t skip the fundamentals. They tend to think it's like using a dictionary-not that difficult. Learn the technical skills you need for the job you want. We want them to say, 'Oh, they are here to help us. We come from different backgrounds and have very different coding styles – not just in terms of formatting, but even in terms of patterns and libraries. At a basic level, when there’s little standardization in our organization (or when we simply work alone), consistency simply means to be consistent with ourselves. But things can get tricky when trying to make a document look a particular way. Here are our questions. If Dorale's team remains consistent in the training and information they provide, by extension so will the coders when it comes time to use that training on the job. How effective are your reviews? Judgment calls made by coding professionals are still a factor in determining correct codes, but CAC makes the automated code referral process more consistent within a coding department. Tip. Always code to the highest degree of accuracy and completeness. If the guidelines are well-established and well-enforced, this type of consistency offers the most power to also effect changes in behavior—individual consistency offers almost no incentive for that, collective consistency only temporarily. I was hoping you’d have some data to backup these ideologies.. these ideas are prevalent throughout the engineering world, and they make sense, but has anybody ever done a study to defend the hypothesis that consistency yields quality? Copyright © 2018 by The American Health Information Management Association. Whenever we deal with other developers, but only if there’s lack of a wider standard, we should at least aim for level 2 consistency, that is, respect their code. AWS Amplify - the fastest, easiest way to develop mobile and web apps that scale. includes plenty of real-world, expert code examples alongside each lesson, to ensure you’re consistently exposed to high quality examples of code. Reviewers who find inconsistent coding within a facility may be more apt to investigate further and deny claims, Dorale says. We should respect and stay consistent with the code style prevalent in the files we touch. Basel Farag 5 years Basel Farag Contributor. Good communication is especially important when coders work remotely. Learning a Language: Don't worry too much about what language you pick. Finally, normally a level reached in bigger organizations, consistency means adhering to (or first creating) the organization’s coding guidelines and style guides. Maintaining consistency across a multistate healthcare system can be challenging, Dorale admits. At the end of a review, the reviewers meet with the facility coders to provide guidance on how to improve their coding. Do you code it in a different way?" Coding guidelines for reporting chronic conditions is not superseded by whether or not there is a HCC vs a non-HCC and just to get paid. Subjectivity aside, the biggest reason for inconsistency is a lack of universal education on certain aspects of coding. However, even though the coworker may provide the correct information, the information is only being passed from one person to another. 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