Constant Change Requires Ongoing Education: How UASI Delivers Continuous Learning

They say that change is the only constant in life. That is certainly true in the world of coding and health information management (HIM). It also means that ongoing education is a necessity for coding leaders and staff of all types of healthcare facilities. Continuous learning is the only way to keep up with shifting standards and guidelines, payment reform, and the latest changes in healthcare technology. Accurate, high-quality coding is simply not possible without ongoing education.

UASI has made a big commitment to educating all of its coders to the highest standards possible. We pride ourselves on providing quality coding. And because our clients and the industry as a whole can benefit from our expertise, we share it freely with clients and other industry stakeholders through a variety of formats, which are highlighted below.

Our education team includes highly skilled and experienced subject matter experts who have a passion for continuous improvement. They make it their mission to keep both our own team and our clients up to date. Because we have knowledge across a range of specialties, we can fill in the gaps for clients and support our staff in both understanding and implementing the latest changes to code sets.

We deliver ongoing education and thus connect with our clients and forge a bond with our employees in multiple ways:

1. Research and provide education on vital issues and healthcare challenges: We obtain information from the industry’s most authoritative sources, including:

As well as from many other good resources from other industry stakeholders. After our review of these publications, we distribute informative “headline” summaries to managers to keep them abreast of the challenges our clients are facing.

2. Identify “hot topics” and top areas of concern: Coding and HIM are fast-moving fields, so we constantly monitor the industry to stay ahead of the big changes. Today’s hottest topics include:

  • CMS’s proposal to overhaul and modernize E/M documentation and billing guidelines
  • Coding of social determinants of health (SDOH)
  • Productivity rates for coders
  • How to perform internal coding audits
  • Denials management
  • Telehealth
  • Clinical documentation
  • Choosing principle diagnosis
  • Determining root operations

 Coding challenges and issues are identified by our managers, supervisors, and lead coders, as well as through the data and analytics provided by our software tool Code IQ. Code IQ acts as an early warning system as the reports generated from it highlight the education topics that must be addressed by our education programs.

By monitoring market trends and analyzing ongoing research and feedback from our large and diverse client base, we are able to stay on top of emerging issues that require education. We are also able to quickly and efficiently define and share best practices for dealing with new challenges with our clients.

3. Engage and mentor front-line coders: The impact of coding changes is felt most by those who are on the front lines. That’s why we engage our coders and clients regularly, soliciting questions about their current challenges. Their front-line suggestions help us identify topics that need to be reviewed.

Our staff development and mentoring program is closely related to our education efforts. The value for clients is a high quality output, and for UASI a high coder retention rate combined with employee loyalty. Ongoing engagement and education, as well as mentoring, helps coders grow more confident and more skilled. It also helps them feel connected to the organization and like they are part of a team.

4. Share content and course material: Because we believe our experience and insights are valuable to the entire industry, we develop and share specific educational curricula to meet the needs of clients or fulfill their specific requests. The materials are designed to help our clients overcome HIM industry changes and challenges. A sample of our efforts:

  • Free monthly coding education PowerPoints
  • Weekly and monthly coding tips shared via email
  • “Lunch and learn” sessions with our clients
  • Presentations at local and regional meetings (AAPC and AHIMA)
  • Provide UASI Webviews, or Webinars, for state associations

As you know, coding is always evolving and the HIM landscape is constantly shifting. The goal of UASI’s commitment to education is not just to keep up with these changes, but rather to stay ahead of them. Contact our team to learn more about how we can develop a curriculum for your organization or subscribe to our coding tips.

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