Work Smarter, Not Harder: Productivity Tips for Medical Coders
Victoria Moll, CPC, CPMA, COC, CRC, CPRC, AAPC Approved Instructor, Fellow
In medical coding, being productive means having a system in place that works for you. While everyone has different styles and ambitions, there are some tips that can be helpful when you’re looking for ways to help meet your goals.
Any medical coder worth their salt knows that having a well-organized workspace is key to being efficient on the job. After all, coding medical charts can be a complex and time-consuming task, so it’s important to be able to find what you need quickly and easily. Here are a few tips for organizing your medical coding workspace:
First, invest in a good filing system. This will help you keep track of all your reference materials. This can be a well organized locking cabinet for paper files or a clearly structured folder flow for digital files. Organizing folders by medical specialty and re-naming files with easily searchable terms can significantly cut down on research time. This can be applied for computer storage, cloud storage, as well as bookmarked links.
Second, create a coding workspace that includes all the tools you need to do your job effectively. This might include a laptop, second monitor, printer, scanner, and several reference books. Having everything in one place will save you time and frustration. Many coders use a book carousel to assist with switching between both ICD-10-CM and CPT coding manuals.
Finally, take some time each day to tidy up your workspace. This will help you stay organized and prevent clutter from building up over time. A few minutes of daily maintenance will go a long way towards keeping your workspace efficient and effective.
Being productive means having a system in place that ensures you’re working on the most important tasks first. To do this, start your day by making a list of the tasks you need to complete. Then, prioritize the tasks by their importance. For example, if you have charts that need to be coded to avoid timely filing denials, they might be on the top of the list. Once you have your list sorted, start working on the task at the top and work your way down. This will help you stay focused and make sure that you’re completing the most important tasks first.
To achieve productivity goals, the medical coder must have a strong understanding of medical coding guidelines and a keen eye for detail. Working on similar tasks for an hour straight can help a medical coder maintain focus and accuracy. However, spending a lot of time hunched over a computer, inputting data into medical charts can be tough on your body and lead to tension headaches, neck pain, and fatigue. That’s why it’s so important to take regular breaks to stretch and move around. Do some simple stretches. Reach your arms up over your head and take a deep breath. Roll your shoulders back and forth a few times. Then, do some gentle ankle rotations. These simple movements can help to relieve tension and keep your body feeling good. Be sure to get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour or so. This will help to improve your circulation and energy levels, making it easier to stay focused on your work. As important as it is to move, it’s just as important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Not only does water help to keep your energy levels up, but it also helps to prevent headaches and fatigue. Plus, staying hydrated will help you to focus on your work and avoid making errors. If you find yourself getting thirsty throughout the day, make sure to keep a water bottle nearby and take regular breaks to drink.
Upbeat music can definitely help with productivity. When you’re coding medical charts all day, you need to find ways to stay alert and driven, and upbeat music can definitely help with that. Some research has shown that video game tracks in particular are able to increase mood and focus as it is specifically designed to keep players motivated and working at a speedy rhythm. So next time you’re feeling stuck, try putting on some video game music and see if it helps you get the job done! If you want to be more productive when coding, try implementing these tips. They’ll help you work more efficiently and get the most out of your time. Of course, everyone works differently and you may find that some of these principles don’t work for you. Experiment until you find what does work and stick with it! I hope that these tips have helped give you a little push in the right direction.