Nobody likes to have their work subject to oversight, grading, and criticism. But most people do like to get educated, improve their skills and make themselves more valuable to their organization. When positioned as a learning experience, coding audits can be extremely beneficial for everyone involved, including physicians.
Whether your audits are internally-conducted or led by an outside, industry consultant, “how” you present findings is critical. Presenting audit results as an educational benefit tends to yield the best results. Here are seven steps for highly effective and collaborative audits.
- Communicate early in the process with both coders and physicians. Everyone should be aware of the internal and external “eyes” upon them.
- Remind everyone involved that no one is perfect and even the best coders / physicians can do their jobs better.
- Work at the individual level when presenting case or employee-specific findings and recommendations. This is where one to one communication is best.
- Include findings and new learning objectives as a performance goal in employee evaluations.
- Garner executive level support for your coding compliance program, particularly as it relates to improving physician documentation. Getting the Chief Medical Officer on board is crucial!
- Be professional, non-threatening and take the time to listen. Present the facts – not opinions. And remember that listening is the most important part of effective communication.
- Finally, establish an appeal process should coders or physicians disagree with auditor findings. Allow room for discussion and negotiation.
Yes, physicians, coders and auditors can be compatible…even when they sometimes disagree! Share your top tips for audit success here and thank you for reading.