In a recent issue in the Journal of AHIMA, our company experts discussed the interconnected world of a global coding workforce and domestic HIM departments.

Our company began training an international coding workforce in 2012 and continued through the October 1, 2015 go-live of ICD-10. Lessons learned overseas are parlayed into best practices for coder training both here at home and abroad. The following is a summary of seven lessons learned based our global coder education experience:

LESSON #1: Coders learn at their own pace.

The majority of the company’s ICD-10 training pre- and post-ICD-10 implementation focused on ICD-10-PCS coding for complex procedures. As with domestic coders, however, offshore coders require remedial education tailored to individual strengths and weaknesses. Managers need a mechanism to monitor performance continually. It should also be noted that many offshore coders have previously worked in other areas of healthcare, including direct patient care. Take this into consideration when developing training material that capitalizes on this knowledge.

LESSON #2: Build a dedicated training department/team.

Coding managers are often too busy and distracted to be able to focus on the unique needs of coding professionals’ training. It’s important to identify one or more ICD-10 instructors who interact directly with trainees. For an international team, the instructor should reside and work within the same location as the coding professionals. It was found that an onsite coding trainer was most effective because the instructor could:

  • Monitor coding professionals’ performance
  • Answer questions as they arise
  • Identify and refine training needs accordingly

LESSON #3: Coding credentials help maintain compliance.

Credentials demonstrate coding proficiency and a commitment to the profession. Budget for the cost of enabling all coding staff to become credentialed once they are trained–overseas or domestic. Also budget for ongoing continuing education necessary to maintain credentials and ensure compliance.

To read the full Journal of AHIMA article, click here.