HCC Coder Survey: Profile of the Community


Early in 2016, RISE was approached by one of the association sponsors, Apixio, about conducting a survey of the HCC coder community.  They wanted a better picture of the way the coders work and the tools they use in their jobs.  As a technology company, of course, Apixio was keen to understand to what extent the community is comfortable with and uses technology in their daily jobs.  RISE felt that this would be a useful survey as a mirror back to the HCC coding community about themselves and how their peers work.  RISE supplied a mailing list of known HCC coding members for the purpose of inviting them to participant in this study.  No marketing was permitted, just the profiling survey.  

Here are the results, which we promised we would share with you.  We hope you find it of interest.  Please let us know if you have questions and we will facilitate getting answers for you. 

Apixio 2016 Coding Survey Summary

In January, Apixio conducted a coding survey. We recruited coders, QA supervisors, and directors involved in risk adjustment coding via RISE’s mailing list, Facebook groups, and LinkedIn groups. We secured 111 responses, from 52 coders, 23 coder managers, 13 director/executives, and 23 other affiliations. Below are some takeaways:


The Risk Adjustment Coding Community is an Experienced, Educated Group

55% of coders, coder managers, and directors have more than four years of experience in their current role (we chose to present options up to four years, so it’s possible that they could have much more).  Demographically, survey respondents are overwhelmingly female (89%), over half are over 45 years of age, and over half have a B.A. or Master’s degree.

Coders Have a High Degree of Comfort with Technology

97% of survey takers feel “very comfortable” with computers. However, while working, 75% of coders say they use books as a resource, more than those who use ICD­10 websites or software. Survey takers work with both electronic and traditional chart formats; 82% of surveyed coders review EHR charts and 55% of them review PDF charts.

Coders Work From Home, but Managers Work From the Office

Coders and QA reviewers tend to work at home (59%), although coder managers and project managers tend to work in an office. In terms of where they are online, LinkedIn is the most popular social network, with over 70% of survey takers participating in the professional networking site, with far fewer survey­takers on Facebook and Twitter.

Most Managers Supervise Small Teams, without Coding Software

Most managers are in charge of small teams; half of managers manage 1­5 coders. A fifth of managers are outliers in this regard, managing more than 20 coders. Coding software [performance technology and analytics] is not yet a prevalent aspect of coding, Only 27% of managers use coding software to help supervise their team and only a slightly higher percentage use software to facilitate coding.

Accuracy is the Biggest Goal for Both Coders and Managers

The top three responsibilities cited by managers are: tracking project progress, setting up and managing a project timeline, and tracking performance. The top three goals are: being accurate in that all the codes found accurately represent the patient state, being accurate in that all the codes found will be confirmed by QA, and finding as many codes as possible in the shortest amount of time.

Brought to you by the Apixio User Research Team

Tags: HCC coding, technology, risk adjustment, survey

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