CAC Return on Investment: useful white paper

Return on Investment (ROI) for Computer-Assisted Coding (CAC) is a very hot topic. The question continues to arise for reasons that will be familiar to every CFO, HIM Director and coder: these reasons include ICD-10, personnel and training issues and the ever-present need to drive down costs.

To truly demonstrate value of any intervention, you need to be able to measure before- and after- performance, ideally measuring a difference that has some meaning- in this case a dollar saving. The issue with CAC is that all charts are not the same and unless you can correct for chart characteristics, you might end up comparing coding performance with complex MRI scans to normal mammograms, with the difference claimed as a CAC benefit. In addition, performance at one facility with any chart modality- e.g. ambulatory surgery- may not be a useful predictor of performance elsewhere unless the charts definitely are comparable.

Clearly an algorithm to correct for chart size and complexity is needed. The good news is that a lot of this hard work has been done: by me, as it turns out. At the 2009 National AHIMA Convention I presented a white paper about "TASK" scoring and how it can be used to assess CAC accuracy. Basically TASK scoring is a mechanism to express chart size/complexity as an index so you can compare similar sets of charts. While this is useful for accuracy, it also allows comparison of productivity or any other measure where a CAC (or any other procedural) benefit is anticipated. TASK builds on industry-standard complexity scoring with modification for the special characteristics of medical charts. This makes it easy to assess performance before and after any intervention involving medical records, with improvements converted to a dollar ROI.

When using the PLATOCODE CAC system, TASK is re-calculated every time a chart is processed and performance is logged so it is easy to measure benefit at any time, even to have a report emailed to you regularly. At the moment this feature is included at no additional charge with the PLATOCODE CAC product.

You can find the TASK white paper Here.