Resiliency after change for medical coders

Feb. 28, 2024 / By Robert Franco, CCS

It is easy to be optimistic when everything is going great, in the coding world, but how do you keep your resiliency six months into a major change, such as a new coding software or requirement updates like the upcoming ICD-11?  Consider these tips and recommendations for even the most seasoned of coders.    

  1. Co-workers will leave the organization or take on new roles. This is great news for you too.  It gives you an opportunity to step into other opportunities to gain or grow your experience.  Wish those fellow coders, moving on, the best and focus on being a key contributor.     
  2. The training material will start to make more sense. It is easy to read and review a training plan, but actually applying new steps or processes into your routine, such as a new coding system, workflow, or new electronic health record (EHR), is more difficult. When you are utilizing these, for your own records, add helpful comments, additional steps, or anything else that fills any gaps.  Include why you are doing it the way you are.  Understanding the big picture helps you to apply critical thinking to situations that arise.  Share with your coding leader for approval before sharing with your colleagues. 
  3. Focus on what matters: Accurate coding for your patients. Do not let a coding change take you away from the coding guidelines, coding clinics, and other internal policies.  Take a deep breath and code on.   
  4. Speed will come. You may feel flustered about how easy you could navigate your role before this change, but now may be slower as you must check the training material.  Give it time, I would say at least a year or two – to feel adjusted.  You should be on a positive trajectory to hit coding standards, for your organization, but to feel completely comfortable you will need time.  Discuss any concerns and expectations with your leader.  You need to know what is expected of you.      
  5. Support your co-workers. Bring up big wins, key tips, or other lessons learned.  Make sure to inform your leaders, so everyone is on the same page.  Help paddle the boat; do not rock it.   
  6. Finally, rest and relax. Make sure you are getting good sleep, spending time with family and friends, and working on hobbies.  You need to rest and relax so when at work you can accurately code.    

I am confident if you follow these steps, you will not only smoothly move through this transition but prosper as a result.  Do you have other recommendations you would add to this list?  Comment below!

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