Improving coding accuracy in an academic practice

Dana Nguyen, Heather O'Mara, Robert Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


UNLABELLED: Practice management has become an increasingly important component of graduate medical education. This applies to every practice environment; private, academic, and military. One of the most critical aspects of practice management is documentation and coding for physician services, as they directly affect the financial success of any practice. Our quality improvement project aimed to implement a new and innovative method for teaching billing and coding in a longitudinal fashion in a family medicine residency. We hypothesized that implementation of a new teaching strategy would increase coding accuracy rates among residents and faculty.

METHODS: Design: single group, pretest-posttest.

SETTING: military family medicine residency clinic. Study populations: 7 faculty physicians and 18 resident physicians participated as learners in the project. Educational intervention: monthly structured coding learning sessions in the academic curriculum that involved learner-presented cases, small group case review, and large group discussion.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: overall coding accuracy (compliance) percentage and coding accuracy per year group for the subjects that were able to participate longitudinally. Statistical tests used: average coding accuracy for population; paired t test to assess improvement between 2 intervention periods, both aggregate and by year group.

RESULTS: Overall coding accuracy rates remained stable over the course of time regardless of the modality of the educational intervention. A paired t test was conducted to compare coding accuracy rates at baseline (mean (M)=26.4%, SD=10%) to accuracy rates after all educational interventions were complete (M=26.8%, SD=12%); t24=-0.127, P=.90.

CONCLUSIONS: Didactic teaching and small group discussion sessions did not improve overall coding accuracy in a residency practice. Future interventions could focus on educating providers at the individual level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-98
Number of pages4
JournalU.S. Army Medical Department journal
Issue number2-17
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical Coding/statistics & numerical data
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Graduate/methods
  • Family Practice
  • Internship and Residency
  • Learning
  • Military Medicine/methods
  • Quality Improvement/statistics & numerical data


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