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The Smart Rev Cycle Blog

Your Coders Could be 7.5x More Productive than Average

Do you know how productive your coders are? These practices do, and they are 7.5x more productive than the average coder.

For the past 20 years, the big three rev cycle KPIs have been denial rate, charge lag and AR days. These big 3 metrics are good, but they are not complete. Through hard work and leveraging technology most practices have low single-digit denial rates, which helps to keep AR days short and charge lag is at most a few days. Unfortunately, most of these same practices do not have a good way to measure, benchmark and improve coder productivity.

The missing practice KPI is Encounters per Coder per Hour (EPH) and is a measurement of how many encounters a coder can process in an hour. Most practices do not track this KPI, but the ones that do are more than 7.5 times more productive than their peers.

The coding process is very frustrating for the leadership at most practices. They know their coders and billers work hard, and that they make lots of corrections for the doctors. However, quantifying the number of changes by the coder, or doctor, or payer is nearly impossible. They may know intuitively which coders are more productive than their peers, but to try to help the rest of the team improve without any objective data is very difficult.

The average coder can process 23 encounters per hour, which is just over 2.5 minutes per encounter. To be able to maintain that level of productivity, in a high volume practice and with a low single-digit denial rate sounds very impressive if you do not have any other benchmark to compare it to. Practices that measure EPH as a KPI are over 7.5 times more productive than the national average and can process 173 encounters per coder per hour.

How do these practices outperform the rest of their peers? It usually begins with awareness at the executive level that they do not have to continue to accept the status quo. The next step is to calculate the baseline EPH for your practice. Leverage tech-enabled services that work alongside your EHR.