Never Waste a Crisis: Why Now May Be the Moment to Improve Your Team’s Coding Skills

by Angela Gerbert, BS, CDIP, CCS, CIC, CPC-I

Instructor, Libman Education

“Now is a great time to do education.”

We heard this from a Director of HIM for a hospital that primarily provides elective procedures. Her hospital’s operating rooms are now ordered to sit idle. Her facility’s patient rooms are being emptied and made ready to accommodate overflow COVID-19 patients from other hospitals within her network.

She reached out to us because she wants to keep her coding staff engaged and their skills sharp during the furlough. She wishes to seize the opportunity to improve their skill level; to undertake the in-depth job-specific training for which there is never enough time during ordinary circumstances.

She believes that her coders who are working from home, or not working at all, may welcome a break from the news to throw themselves into learning a new skill or exploring a complex topic.

Let me suggest three steps to take advantage of the current disruption:

1. Identify the in-depth, job-specific training that will make the biggest difference for your staff as individuals and as a team. What have they been struggling with? What are their interests? Here is your chance to finally get a handle on that coding problem that has eluded your team.

2. Engage with your staff on what you are planning and listen to their ideas. Help them to focus on a positive vision of the future. Suggest ways for them to carve out time and quiet physical space to accommodate this training initiative.

3. Give them direction and deadlines. Let them know your expectations and hold them to it. They are still your employees.

The recent Libman Education HIM Professional Census noted that most coders are strongly committed to their profession and understand the importance of education to advancing their careers. The challenge has always been finding the time.

One of the ironies of COVID-19 is that this major disruption of all our lives may actually provide the time, focus, and impetus for HIM professionals to enhance their skills through targeted job-specific training.

Stay safe.


Working Remote? Give Your Staff the Training and Resources They Need
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About the Author

Angela Gerbert, BS, CDIP, CCS, CIC, CPC-I
Angela Gerbert applies a hands-on approach to her role as the Director of Education for Libman Education. Whether overseeing the work of subject matter experts including nationally recognized coding authorities; challenging instructional designers to deliver content in a way that is both engaging and memorable; or tapping her 25 years’ experience in inpatient, outpatient, and emergency room coding to write coder-friendly courses herself, Angela is responsible for ensuring that our training is accurate, easily accessible, and challenging.

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