Training Providers by Listening First

Training Providers by Listening First

By Victoria Jennings, RHIA, CCS, CPC-A

As a coding educator for my organization, I recently traveled a few hours’ drive across the state to work with a new provider whose practice we had just acquired. This provider was a single doctor’s office and they were coming from a paper environment to an electronic health record (EHR). This happens often and I can only say it is a great moment for sympathy.

Electronic Health Records (EHR).
I remember what it was like when the organization I worked for chose to make the move to its first EHR. The anticipation was palpable. People were excited and scared all at once. This was going to be a big change.

Do you remember? Take a moment and let your mind wander back to the time when you were learning how to use your new EHR. Do you remember the emotions flying around? Everyone was emotional, remember?

Do you recall anyone not being able to get through to the IS help line? That might have been me. Do you remember anyone getting frustrated when the system did not work as expected? That might have been me too. Do you remember when someone broke down in tears and hid under their desk? (I swear, that wasn’t me. Okay it might have been, but nobody saw me.)

Everyone was a little scared and a lot stressed. There was a tremendous amount of change happening all over the place for everyone and people were sometimes losing their composure and maybe even their minds for a few minutes. It happens. I wanted you to take this stroll down memory lane with me because it is important to remember what it felt like, so you can truly be sympathetic with those going through it now.

Change reveals the coping style of anyone it snares. COVID-19 has done as much. Some people will be depressed, some people will get angry, others might even lash out at those around them. The biggest gift you can give a new acquisition site as a coding educator is to be patient and listen. If you know how to manage the stress of others, you can be great at helping a new acquisition site get settled into a new EHR. You will find you do so much more than just educate. You are a sounding board, a quick reference guide to other departments, and sometimes, if you are lucky, a friend.

I find the best training situations, the ones where the providers say they got something out of the training, are the ones where I take the time to get their input. I ask engaging and relevant questions and I take the time to listen and provide intelligent feedback.

There is a book written by Dave Isay called, “Listening is an Act of Love.” It was written about the StoryCorps Project. The entire project was to gather people’s stories. It is a very interesting read. In my experience, I have found one of the biggest benefits to being a listener first when I go on a new site is it can help put everyone at ease. Taking a moment to be sympathetic with their experience of change, is a gift to them. It will also lure them into a state of being that is more receptive to your training. Listening qualifies as an activity of love.

If I were to measure my success on how well my providers do with their audits, I would have a few sad days. Instead, I choose to measure my personal success on helping new providers to feel at ease. If we can complete the 1.5 hour training I have for them – this is success. If they write my number down or put it in their phone, this is success. If they know they can ask any question and I will be there to answer or research it for them, this is success. We are all on the same team.

Documentation training is all about the words. Therefore, our words are important, too. Say what you mean and be intentional. Be specific. I tell providers I am on their side, and they contact me as a resource if they have documentation questions.

I take the time to listen and create a more emotionally relaxed environment for the providers to receive my training.

I consider it a success.


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About the Author
Victoria Jennings, RHIA, CCS, CPC-A
Victoria is the new acquisitions/new provider Coding Educator with Millennium Physician Group, a large multispecialty physician group with over 500 providers throughout the state of Florida. She has worked in the Education field as a Program Director for an RHIT and Coding Diploma program and was responsible for their accreditation with CAHIIM. Vicki enjoyed a role within compliance with Lee Health as a compliance investigator and external Audit Coordinator, She has also worked as an outpatient and inpatient coder for the hospital side as well as a Profee coder and educator for physician groups. She has also been a presenter for the local AAPC chapter on several occasions.

Disclaimer: This article is written for educational purposes only. Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure its accuracy and completeness. It is the responsibility of the reader to refer to the definitions, descriptions, conventions, and guidelines specific to each coding classification, as well as relevant laws and regulations when selecting and reporting medical codes.

About the Author

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