Medical coding is the process of converting information regarding a patient's diagnoses and tests to a standard numerical format. Codes may be used to report information such as symptoms, allergies and medical services performed. In addition, medical coding provides a basis for comparing medical procedures and facilities.
No national productivity standards exist for medical coding. Each facility establishes its own standards based on the type of record, such as inpatient or outpatient. According to a 2009 survey conducted by HCPro, 29 percent of facilities use three records coded per hour as the benchmark for inpatient coding.
The American Health Information Management Association, or AHIMA, has established a set of productivity benchmarks. The AHIMA standards set a benchmark of two to four inpatient charts coded per hour depending on the type of record. Outpatient records should be coded at a rate of five to 20 records per hour depending on the type.
Adhering to Standards
In order for a coder to meet the productivity standards, all of the pertinent information needs to be in place. Charts need to contain dictated reports in order for accurate coding to occur. Missing reports or other information can reduce a coder's productivity.