Coder Training is Needed; On-site versus Online

by Barry Libman, MS, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CCS-P, CIC and Lynn Kuehn, MS, RHIA, CCS-P

Keeping your coding staff up-to-date and prepared is an ongoing challenge. Once Coding Managers have determined WHOM to train, WHAT to train them on, and WHEN this training can fit into the schedule, the question arises of HOW best to train a diverse and often far flung workforce.

Consider the following three benefits of on-site training:

1. The ability to tailor content in real time. As questions arise, instructors can pause and elaborate on certain topics. They can also omit information that isn’t relevant to the organization or that’s too basic for the students, reserving time for more pertinent discussions. In addition, instructors can incorporate facility-specific audit results and case study examples, allowing them to focus on high-volume procedures, facility-specific documentation challenges, and other questions that may be unique to the organization.

2. Instructors can turn questions into powerful teaching tools. When a student asks a question, everyone benefits from the answer. This includes students who may not feel comfortable asking questions out of fear of appearing ignorant. When students ask questions, especially follow-up questions for clarification, it also forces instructors to refine their explanations, ultimately yielding a more meaningful learning experience.

3. It lets coders know they’re not alone. A group learning environment builds camaraderie. Something as simple as a head nod, for example, lets coders know that others share their frustrations and anxieties.

The benefits of online training include the following:

1. A flexible learning schedule. Coders can participate in online modules when it’s convenient for them. This includes remote coding staff who may not be able to travel onsite for training purposes.

2. Built-in proficiency assessments. Coding managers easily glean proficiency through test-your-knowledge questions built into the online modules.

3. Access to specialized topics. Organizations aren’t limited to courses available in their immediate geographic area. Coders can benefit from instructors nationwide who have developed top-notch online courses based on their areas of expertise.

Information in this blog was previously published by the authors in ICD-10 Monitor on March 2, 2017.


Barry Libman, MS, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CCS-P, CIC, is recognized for his in-depth knowledge of coding and reimbursement issues for acute care hospitals. An area of particular interest and expertise is Long Term Acute Care Hospital (LTACH) coding.Barry is the founder of both Barry Libman Inc., a company that provides coding, audit, and educational services to the HIM departments of healthcare institutions, as well as Libman Education, a leading provider of training for the health care workforce. Prior to forming these organizations, he held a number of positions in the health information management field, working for hospitals, insurers, consulting firms, and regulatory bodies. Barry is often called upon to provide education and training on code updates and coding issues. He received the Professional Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Health Information Management Association (MaHIMA), served on the MaHIMA Board of Directors, and served as a representative to the House of Delegates held at the AHIMA national conference. Barry is a graduate of Northeastern University and received a Masters in Healthcare Administration from Simmons College.

Lynn Kuehn, MS, RHIA, CCS-P, FAHIMA, is president of Kuehn Consulting, LLC, in Waukesha, Wisconsin, a consulting firm specializing in coding for all settings and physician practice management issues. Lynn has been deeply immersed in the ICD-10 coding system and training for ICD-10 and was among the first instructors for AHIMA’s ICD-10 Train-the-Trainers.  She has authored Libman Education’s 3-part series of ICD-10-PCS courses and E/M Coding: Evaluation and Management Coding for Professional Fee Services.

About the Author

Lynn Kuehn is president of Kuehn Consulting, LLC, in Waukesha, Wisconsin, a consulting firm specializing in ICD-10-PCS coding for the inpatient setting. Lynn is a nationally recognized trainer on ICD-10-PCS and other HIM-related topics. Lynn served on the AHIMA Board of Directors and authored several of AHIMA’s most popular books including ICD-10-PCS: An Applied Approach and Procedural Coding and Reimbursement for Physician Services. Together with her co-Author Theresa Jorwic, Lynn received the Triumph Literary Legacy Award from AHIMA for ICD-10-PCS: An Applied Approach. Called the “go-to” resource for learning and mastering ICD-10-PCS, ICD-10-PCS: An Applied Approach provides step-by-step instructions and exercises at all levels, and is used throughout Kuehn’s ICD-10-PCS courses authored for Libman Education.

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