By Angela Lima BS, CCS, CDIP, CIC, COC, AAPC-Approved Instructor
Group training is a powerful tool to ensure your workforce is ready to do the work you need them to do. Employers purchase coding skills training for their team for many different reasons:
- Cross-training their pool of skilled coders to allow flexible reassignment in response to demand and to keep staff engaged and challenged
- Addressing coding quality issues identified by recent internal or external audits
- Encouraging coders to earn their coding credential to demonstrate their mastery of the skills and a commitment to ongoing professional education
- Ensuring everyone is on the same page when it comes to yearly code changes
The group dynamic should not be underestimated. In departments with a mix of seasoned and not-so-seasoned staff, educating the whole team provides an opportunity for detailed sharing of information. Senior staff can mentor their juniors. Junior staff can accelerate their mastery of coding skills. They may or may not be ready to step up to more complex cases right away, but the process of improving their skills puts them on the path to eventual mastery.
Training your entire team, as a team, can have three distinct benefits:
- Sharing of insights: We all learn differently and we all have different levels of understanding. Being part of a team training effort means you share the same source training materials. Being able to review materials with a colleague and get their take on a topic (“Let me explain how I understand the new guideline should be applied”) can break through an impasse.
- Emotional support: Having a friendly face to commiserate with and offer an “atta-boy” when the coding system and guidelines are swimming in your head, can keep your team on track. “You can do it!” can mean everything when you really need to hear it.
- Competition: So long as it remains friendly and supportive, competition is a powerful tool to keep a team focused and moving forward. Hearing “I am going to conquer these vascular codes this weekend. What are you doing?” might encourage the level of effort necessary for the whole team to reach the goal.
Coding is an exciting field — there is always room to grow and learn. There are additional levels of comprehension and deeper understanding. There are new codes and guidelines yearly as well as new conditions and new procedures to comprehend. The organization may be changing its mix of cases. There may be new providers with new styles of documentation.
Whatever the challenge, the dynamic of group learning allows for sharing, support and healthy competition.
Give your coders the training and the resources they need to get to the right answer faster!
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