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AHIMA21: Conference Debrief

Posted By Marie Thomas

AHIMA21’s theme: “Transforming the Future of Health Data” was reflected in every aspect of the conference.  The event, sponsored in part by ECLAT Health Solutions, was opened by Katherine Lusk, President and Chair1, who defined our sector with the bold proclamation that “we are a learning profession that adapts to change,” a statement that was met with a virtual roar of agreement from all the attendees. 

The incredible lineup of exhibitors and speakers were ready to share how data drives everything we do.  VP Health Information Services, Tim Keough, who is also the President-elect and Chair-elect2, broke this issue down further, explaining that we are truly driven by evidence and problems, and that we utilize data as a catapult.  Vivek Menon3 walked the audience through transitioning to Single Path Coding, eliminating duplicate processes while improving productivity and realizing fewer denials.  Nick Culbertson and Jacki Monson4 helped us reframe our mindset on compliance and better understand why we should treat it like preventive care.  By using data to predict and to prevent, we can avoid being reactive and add another layer of protection to safety, privacy, and security.  

The cast of speakers was in unanimous agreement that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a part of the strategy to transform our future in health data.  Carrie and Cindy5 presented a tech demo on enhancing the Clinical Documentation Integrity (CDI) Department’s physician workflows using tools that integrate coding and CDI.  Although such tools are not replacements for queries, the interactive workflow, whether inpatient, outpatient, or Emergency Department patient types, successfully reduced the query volumes.

Coding quality is always top of mind for everyone who processes encounters.  Serpil Bizova demonstrated audit forms and scoring formats that are automated and work within an AWS environment.  This eliminates spreadsheets and reduces the laborious tasks involved in auditing to ensure quality.  A two-part session reviewed common procedure coding system (ICD-10-PCS)6 & 7 coding errors.  The session specifically highlighted coding mechanical ventilation, drug, and non-drug eluting stent, Bronchioalveolar lavage, lung biopsy, and bronchus biopsy.  Marcy Blitch8 reiterated the importance in data consistency to understand the relevance of the data being analyzed.

Data is either raw, analyzed or validated, and until the data is validated, it is not considered to be relevant.

Speakers Shawn Stack,  Karen Stoffiere, and Deborah Lauricia were excited to share how collaboration with health plans and the revenue cycle are crucial.  They explained that the communication and relationship building needs to take place with Medicare and commercial payers, because “trusted data impacts healthcare delivery."9  Therefore, provider data and payer data require a common understanding.  Dr. Daniel Kraft10 took us into the future of technology.  He detailed how smartwatches may be used to detect COVID or other viruses, helping to protect the wearer by alerting them to hazards in their surroundings.  Indeed, some of the devices being tested resemble the Jetson phenomenon.  This predictive glimpse also confirmed that telehealth is here to stay.  The event also included an analysis of the present, detailing accelerators of data driven processes.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, included was probably the most well known, one that we have been experiencing since 2020: COVID 19.

Exacerbated by the pandemic, many of us and many of our colleagues are experiencing fatigue and burn-out, losing our zest and searching for our joy.  Speaker Jill Christensen11 shared many ways to re-engage, trusting in leadership and believing in the mission.  She offered her book, “If Not You, Who?” during the session.

Coding complications can be a struggle for coders, particularly when differentiating between I-9 and I-10 and when determining when the condition association is or is not required.  Therefore, a session was dedicated to decoding complications of care.  Hierarchical Condition Coding (HCC) was a hot topic, as speakers stepped up to explain the ICD-10 CM relevance to risk coding on every record, identifying differences between patients presenting with the same condition but having different risks, and reflecting the severity of illness in patient populations.

Working with physicians on specified documentation is essential.  

My takeaway: AHIMA21 was truly a time of learning with fantastic insights on identifying a plan, collecting information, and analyzing and validating data to be used to drive forecasting and opportunities.  Value from data is generated from evidence and probabilities, but data collection alone does not impact KPIs; we need to have a plan for how to best implement it.  With the knowledge gained from AHIMA21, all attendees stand better equipped to leverage their data and transform the future.

ECLAT Health Solutions: Unlocking Your Revenue Cycle's Full Value

Like AHIMA21’s fantastic event was eye-opening about healthcare's future in a data perspective, ECLAT likewise reveals your RCM's full potential and is an expert in unlocking its full value for you.

ECLAT's end-to-end RCM Solutions, including Coding and A/R Management, are a game changer enabling your hospitals and health systems to:

  • Create a stronger revenue cycle with increased cash flows
  • Capture optimal reimbursements
  • Eliminate errors and denials
  • Accelerated Collections
  • Value-adding optimizations

Click below to create a custom action plan with us and unlock the full value of your revenue cycle.

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  1. https://conference.ahima.org/program/schedule-at-a-glance/monday-september-20/sept-20/president-chair-address/| AHIMA21
  2. https://conference.ahima.org/program/schedule-at-a-glance/wednesday-september-22/sept-22/president-chair-elect-address/ | AHIMA21
  3. https://conference.ahima.org/program/schedule-at-a-glance/monday-september-20/sept-20/managing-the-transition-to-single-path-coding/ | AHIMA21
  4. https://conference.ahima.org/program/schedule-at-a-glance/monday-september-20/sept-20/why-health-systems-should-treat-compliance-like-preventive-care/| AHIMA21
  5. https://conference.ahima.org/program/schedule-at-a-glance/tech-demos/tech-demos/how-to-enhance-your-cdi-department-with-physician-in-workflow-documentation/| AHIMA21
  6. https://conference.ahima.org/program/schedule-at-a-glance/monday-september-20/sept-20/common-icd-10-pcs-coding-errors-learning-key-strategies-part-1/ | AHIMA21
  7. https://conference.ahima.org/program/schedule-at-a-glance/monday-september-20/sept-20/common-icd-10-pcs-coding-errors-learning-key-strategies-part-2/| AHIMA21
  8. https://conference.ahima.org/program/schedule-at-a-glance/monday-september-20/sept-20/data-relevance-leveraging-meaningful-health-data-to-improve-financial-and-health-outcomes/| AHIMA21
  9. ​​https://conference.ahima.org/program/schedule-at-a-glance/tuesday-september-21/sept-21/collaboration-with-health-plans-for-improved-revenue-cycle-performance/| AHIMA21
  10. https://conference.ahima.org/program/schedule-at-a-glance/tuesday-september-21/sept-21/daniel-kraft-md/| AHIMA21
  11. https://conference.ahima.org/program/schedule-at-a-glance/tuesday-september-21/sept-21/if-not-you-who-how-to-crack-the-code-of-employee-disengagement-in-healthcare/| AHIMA21

Tags: AHIMA, Medical Coding, ai healthcare support, telehealth, HCC coding