Building the Bridge to E-Coding

McKenzie, Kirsten, Walker, Sue M., & Lewis, Melinda (2003) Building the Bridge to E-Coding. In Health Information Management Association of Australia Conference 2003, 8th to 10th August, 2003, Sydney.

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The National Centre for Classification in Health (NCCH), in collaboration with the Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA) and the Clinical Coders' Society of Australia (CCSA), recently conducted a nation-wide survey of clinical coders working in Australian hospitals. This survey provided data about the coder workforce in terms of employment conditions, duties, resources, educational backgrounds, and access to and need for continuing education. In addition coders were given the opportunity to express their views regarding the future role of clinical coders and the perceived impact of electronic health records (EHRs) on coding practice. This paper reports managers’ and coders’ views on the impact of EHRs on coding practice and suggests some changes to the coding function as a result of their implementation.

Survey comments were provided on EHRs by 278 managers and 576 coders. The most common theme identified in both the managers’ and coders’ responses was the view that EHRs would result in a greater availability, and easier access, to information from which to assign codes. Respondents believed that EHRs will also improve the legibility of records. As a result, both managers and coders indicated a belief that coding quality would be improved with the introduction of EHRs. Technological concerns were raised, with managers emphasising the need for coders to develop better computing skills with the introduction of EHRs, and coders indicating a requirement for increased technical support and improvements in computing facilities. Interestingly, both groups also indicated that there would be an increased involvement of clinicians in the coding process. A belief that there may be greater flexibility in the location that coding is performed was also highlighted. Coders raised additional points in relation to EHRs, specifically an anticipated faster turnaround time for coding, changes to the coding profession, and occupational health and safety issues associated with EHRs.

These issues will be explored in this paper, providing valuable information on the views of Australian clinical coders and managers on the impact of EHRs on future coding practice. In particular, the views of coders regarding changes to their roles and responsibilities will be highlighted. The results of the Coder Workforce survey will be supplemented by a review of the literature.

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ID Code: 7185
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please contact the author:
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Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Health Information Systems (incl. Surveillance) (111711)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Research Centres > National Centre for Health Information Research & Training
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 the authors
Copyright Statement: This publication is available online.
Deposited On: 26 Apr 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:39

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