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Development and evaluation of a charge capture program for long-term care providers.

Handler SM, Hsieh VC, Nace DA, Sciulli L, Fridsma DB, Studenski SA. Development and evaluation of a charge capture program for long-term care providers. Journal of The American Medical Directors Association. 2004 Sep 1; 5(5):337-41.

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OBJECTIVE: Clinicians often have difficulty determining the appropriate Current Procedural Terminology Evaluation and Management code to assign to the type and intensity of patient care they provide. The purpose of this study was to develop, implement, and evaluate a handheld charge capture program for use by providers in the long-term care setting. DESIGN: Using a pre-post study design, we compared the coding accuracy and user satisfaction of an established paper process with a handheld charge capture program created for this study by means of: (1) preimplementation and postimplementation assessment of coding accuracy, and (2) preimplementation and postimplementation clinician survey. SETTING: We studied an academic division of geriatric medicine. PARTICIPANTS: Participants consisted of six clinicians who currently spend at least 50% of their clinical time practicing in the long-term care setting. INTERVENTION: A handheld charge capture program to replace the current paper-based charge capture process was reviewed. RESULTS: Overall coding accuracy improved by approximately 20% when the handheld program was used instead of a paper coding process. The majority of clinicians found that the handheld program was more widely available, efficient, easier to use, and encouraged the participants to document more completely and accurately in the patient's medical record. CONCLUSION: A handheld billing and coding program used by clinicians who provide care for long-term care residents is not only feasible, but leads to an improvement in coding accuracy when compared with a paper process. In addition, clinician satisfaction toward the billing and coding processes improved with the use of the handheld program.

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