What Will the Coding Environment Look Like a Year from Today? - Cover

What Will the Coding Environment Look Like a Year from Today?

As the United States prepares for ICD-10’s deadline, healthcare providers across the nation look inward to evaluate their organizations' ability to cope with efficiency loss. Many have purchased computer-assisted coding solutions, but many of these providers still have unmet expectations. In order to hedge their bets, many organizations have contracted coders from multiple outsourced coding firms to supplement their in-house coders. The hope is that when they need even more coders, they will be able to leverage their existing vendor relationships to fill the gaps.

Unfortunately, quality coders are becoming a scarce resource. As an HIM manager in our recent HIM services report put it, “It is a challenge to find really good, experienced coders. They are very hard to find. There aren’t enough of them.” Outsourced coding firms continue to do their best to place coders in their clients’ organizations, but delays in staffing could expose those that have sold beyond capacity as productivity is challenged by ICD-10.

A year from now, as we realize the full impact of ICD-10, it will be interesting to see the roles computer-assisted coding and offshored coding play.  Will there be enough coders? Or will we need to send our coding offshore? In KLAS’ latest HIM Purchasing Plans report, 69% of healthcare providers reported that they would not consider offshore coding. The cost savings of offshore coding are apparent to most, but taking jobs out of the country and coding-quality concerns cause major hesitation. However, as demand for coders increases, scarcity may act as a new driving force, causing more organizations to engage with offshore coders. KLAS will continue to watch this area and report.