As staff at LMH Health, based in Lawrence, Kansas, prepared to host large COVID-19 vaccination events, they knew efficiency would be key to getting as many people vaccinated as possible. Because each vaccination required a five-step coding process, the staff looked for an innovative way to automate some of the steps. LMH Health turned to its electronic health record supplier Cerner and found existing functionality called rule-based coding.
Rule-based coding functionality helps to provide the ability for your organization to create rules to code encounters by the system that are consistently coded with the same diagnosis and procedure codes without coder intervention. Once John Henderson, Director of Application Integration at LMH Health, found the rule-based coding functionality on uCern, an internal Cerner site for client questions, he and his team met with Cerner staff and worked through minor tweaks, plugged it in and made it work quickly. Before leveraging rule-based coding, the manual process was taxing because it involved repetitive tasks that bogged down LMH Health staff.
“It helped save an incredible amount of coding time and allowed the staff to be more efficient and focus on other coding tasks,” said Amber Epperson, RHIA, CHDA, COC, Director of Health Information Management Services and the Central Business Office. “All we had to do was review to make sure it was working as we intended, which made it more of a monitoring situation instead of a manual process.”
For example, when LMH Health registered nearly 3,000 patients, they were able to mark each registration as recurring since it represents a two-series visit for each patient. This eliminated the need to register the patient a second time when he or she returned for the second shot. Using the new rule-based coding process, LMH Health saved an estimated 100 hours of coding time.1
“We worked with Cerner to utilize the rule-based coding feature to avoid having to open each account and manually add a code,” said Epperson. “We were able to get the code to populate based on the configuration we entered into the system, and the rule is designed to drop the bill without us having to manually touch it.”
1Calculated by taking average of 30 accounts per hour extrapolated over nearly 3,000 accounts, from January-February 2021