Requirements & Issues Related to Managing Remote Coders
"The coders who work from home, they truly become much happier," said Deborah C. Beezley, RHIT, director of health information management (HIM) at St. Anthony's Medical Center in St. Louis. (Just-Coding) This is one of the many advantages to a remote coding. However, there are many disadvantages as well. As more and more facilities transition to EMR’s, the use of home based remote coders is gaining in popularity as an efficient alternative to in-house coding and even outsourcing. For many rural facilities remote coding removes the geographic barrier and allows access to a larger pool of coders. It is also a great solution for space restricted facilities because there is no need for additional space for equipment and other personnel.
One notable advantage from a management perspective to a remote coding program is the increase productivity due to fewer interruptions. It allows for additional flexibility not only in work hours (e.g., day, evening, or night shift), but also in terms of offering coders overtime when it is needed. This allows the facility to cover backlogs and balance the accounts receivable.
One major disadvantage to a remote coding program is the technological and connectivity issues at home for those who experienced decreases in productivity. According to the coder productivity survey (Coder Productivity in Today’s Environment), (83% blamed slow Internet connections; 66% blamed other connectivity issues). Other problems included lack of coworker interaction (38%), lack of self-discipline or motivation, and home interferences or distractions (24% each). These are significant percentages that coding managers need to attend to.
There are many issues when implementing a remote coding program such as developing telecommuting policies/procedures and human resource considerations. Before implementation, all employees that will be working at home must sign a written telecommuting agreement...