Address Skill Gaps, Boost Coder Productivity

featured in January/February 2020 issue of For The Record

When coder productivity drops, it poses a real threat to a facility’s bottom line. That is especially true in today’s post–ICD-10 era, where coding has shifted from a largely transactional activity to one that is relational to everything from care quality and risk adjustment to population health initiatives and bundled payment preparation. This has changed not only the ways coder productivity is measured but also the relationship between speed and accuracy.

This has become clear in the four years that Central Learning, a web-based coding assessment and education application that is part of Pena4, has been conducting its nationwide ICD-10 coding contest.

“What we’ve seen is that from 2018 to 2019, on the outpatient side, there was a decrease in accuracy and an increase in the number of cases per hour, so they’re completing more cases, but the accuracy went down,” says Eileen Dano Tkacik, Pena4’s vice president of IT and BPO business development. “The three areas we consistently see as the most challenging are [neoplasm, respiratory, and musculoskeletal] cases, but the common denominators are laterality and specificity. Those combinations keep glaring at us.”