Susan White and Lisa Knowles Hit Home Run at AHIMA ICD-10/ CAC Summit

While the Baltimore Orioles played the Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards last week, I was across the street listening to industry leaders speaking at the annual AHIMA ICD-10 and Computer Assisted Coding (CAC) Summit. One presentation which stood out was titled, “The Role of Technology and the HIM Professional in Ensuring Data Integrity,” co-presented by Susan White, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor at Ohio State University, and Lisa Knowles-Ward, RHIT, Director of Coding at the Cleveland Clinic. They reported the results of research recently completed by the AHIMA Foundation and the Cleveland Clinic. This research was funded by 3M and examined how CAC technology in the hands of the AHIMA-credentialed coder can improve data integrity.

I can easily see how Susan is asked to present at so many industry events. She did an excellent job walking the audience through the research scope and methodology as well as the statistical tools she used for the analysis. She explained that the research was designed to answer two questions:

  1. What is the value added to the HIM professional in the coding process when CAC is generating the codes?
  2. Will coder productivity increase when they leverage CAC technology to code vs. when they are coding without CAC?

Susan went on to say that the research took place in two phases from July 2012 to January 2013. In order to establish a baseline, the first phase took place just two weeks after Cleveland Clinic went live with the 3M CAC solution.  The second phase came six months later, which allowed enough time for CAC tuning and for the coders to get through their learning curve.

Lisa’s passion about the role of HIM in creating accurate and timely codes to support the high quality of care provided at the Cleveland Clinic came through loud and clear in her presentation.  She did an outstanding job describing how a group of six coders coded a total of 150 records using the traditional encoder while another group of six coders coded a total of 150 records utilizing the CAC technology.  All codes were compared to the “Gold Standard” results as defined by an expert team of Cleveland Clinic coders.

Lisa explained to the audience that coding accuracy was measured by “precision” and “recall.”  She was very proud of her coding team and took great pride in describing the key research findings:

  • Coder productivity  for the group of coders using CAC was significantly higher  than those
    coders not using the CAC (using encoder only):

–      16.3 percent at two weeks

–      21.5 percent  at six months

  • This increase in coder productivity was achieved without decreasing coding accuracy.
  • The CAC tuning improved the recall rate for both DX and PX codes.
  • In both Phases, the addition of the credentialed coder to the CAC improved the precision for DX coding and the recall of PX coding over using CAC alone.

There might have been great baseball being played across the street, but Susan and Lisa hit a home run at the AHIMA ICD-10 and Computer-Assisted Coding Summit.

Ann Chenoweth is Director of Industry Relations and Market Research with 3M Health Information Systems.

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