Time to Make the “Kind” Response Your Default Setting

by Rebecca Harmon, MPM, RHIA, CCA

Popular inspirational teachers often remind audiences that when they have the choice to be RIGHT or KIND, they should always choose kindness. This is not new counsel. Wisdom tales across time and cultures have highlighted the importance of kindness.

Recently I came across a research study that showed a positive relationship between kindness and health. The “Cliff Notes” version goes something like this:

  • When someone is KIND to us – does something nice, helps us out, treats us with compassion – our serotonin levels rise and our immune systems are strengthened.
  • The research also showed that when we are kind to someone else, our serotonin levels rise and our immune systems are strengthened.
  • BUT it doesn’t stop there: When we even observe an act of kindness done by someone else to another person – our serotonin levels rise and our immune systems are strengthened.

That’s pretty impressive but let’s take it out of the laboratory, and apply it to our everyday lives. What might happen in our relationships at work if we decide to make the kind response our default setting?

  • Instead of reacting with anger in traffic on our way to or from work, can we have some compassion and be kind?
  • Rather than hitting the roof when things don’t go our way when Coding workload is assigned can we choose kindness instead of resentment?
  • And can we work on assuming that people have good intentions when they correct our Coding, or disagree with us about a chart we have completed?

The kind response isn’t always the easy response, but with some practice it can become our default response to almost all of life’s interactions – in the Coding department and beyond.

One more upside: As cold and flu season continues to build momentum here in the Northern hemisphere, we can all benefit from a little boost to our immune systems. A little kindness is always less painful than a week with the flu!

Give kindness a try – it’s free, there’s little to no downside, and the benefits are limitless!


ICD-10-CM/PCS Guidelines
Learn how to correctly apply ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS guidelines to ensure accurate and complete coding:

ICD-10-CM: Selected Guidelines for Coding and Reporting
ICD-10-PCS Guidelines: A Case Study Approach

About the Author

Rebecca Harmon, MPM, RHIA, CCA
Rebecca Harmon returned to HIM practice in a leadership role after spending many years as an HIM educator. Tapping her broad history of diverse healthcare experience that began with a tour of duty in the US Navy, Rebecca writes regularly and speaks on education, workforce issues, management and life. An energetic and engaging speaker, Ms. Harmon enjoys sharing her unique perspective with student, faculty, professional and community groups.

4 thoughts on “Time to Make the “Kind” Response Your Default Setting

  1. Jennifer Jarrard - June 12, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thanks for this article. I have been enjoying your posts with all the positivity-much appreciated and needed!

    Keep them coming, and have a great day!


  2. Miriam Capps - June 27, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    I’m going to apply ;this to my personal relationships!

  3. Andrea Houghton - October 25, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    Thanks, Rebecca. This is a really important message to remember, especially when dealing with cross functional teamwork. Well said.

  4. Becky Buegel - October 25, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    As a follow-up thought –

    Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. ~ Mark Twain