Prospering through major change as a medical coder

Sept. 11, 2023 / By Robert Franco, CCS

I have worked for several companies over my career, and all have undertaken a merger, made a significant change, like moving to a different electronic health record (EHR), or another major event. This can seem very nerve racking, but I want to offer advice to not only get through it, but prosper. Here are tips I have found to be helpful over the years.

  1. Work on your coding skills. Focus on your productivity and quality. Whatever the change may be, being a subject matter expert will benefit you overall. Most decisions will be out of your control, so focus on what you can impact: accurately coding the medical records.
  2. Continue to educate yourself on upcoming code changes. It may be difficult to think about anything else besides the organization changes, but make sure to stay knowledgeable. It is important to focus on delivering great coding results. Your patients are depending upon it.
  3. Look out for emails, newsletters and other notifications to keep you informed along the way. If you have the option to follow/watch/etc., do so. You want to stay well informed.
  4. Complete any new requirements, such as registering with a new two factor authenticator, in a timely manner. This way if there are any issues, you can bring it up early and get it fixed before the deadline. For example, if you have two weeks to complete something, do not wait until the day it is due, to complete. Work on it within 48 hours or so of receiving the notification.
  5. Stay positive! Change always leads to new opportunities. Whether it is the creation of new teams, departments or filling vacant positions, your department still needs to code client records. When you demonstrate your ability to deliver remarkable results you can be a valued resource to retain and grow.
  6. Be aware there will be hiccups along the road when the effective date occurs. This is normal. If you notice something, bring it up to your leader with specific examples. Quantify frequency as this can help your leadership team determine priority. Of course, follow appropriate processes if sharing protected health information (PHI), such as account numbers. Do not create further issues by having a PHI breach.
  7. Continue to review training material/processes to grow your competency. Ideas/concepts from the training material will make more sense after you have lived in this new environment.
  8. If you have suggestions, ask leadership. Ask to be part of the process to review/fix any issues that arise. It will benefit the whole team to not just mention an issue but aid in the troubleshooting/testing/fixing where you can.
  9. Support your teammates. Encourage each other to successfully navigate these new waters.
  10. Give this change time to stick. Just like when you were new to your coding role, this change will take time to master.

I am confident that if you follow these steps, you will soon see this as your new normal and as an opportunity to grow as a coder.

New to medical coding? For onboarding tips read my previous blog.

Robert Franco, CCS is a coding analyst at 3M Health Information Systems.