Coding, Classification & Reimbursement

Thoughts/Advice on Working Remotely

  • 1.  Thoughts/Advice on Working Remotely

    Posted 19 days ago
    Hello everyone,
    My name is Amanda and I am a current HIM student at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY. I am due to graduate this spring and start job searching immediately. I know that it can be very common for coders to work remotely from home. I was curious as to everyone's opinion on working remotely. Is it hard to stay motivated at home? Do you see any pros or cons to working remotely at home versus in an office? Is it hard to balance home and work life when they occur at the same place? Even though working should be kept professional, is there a negative side effect from lack of socialization from the workplace? Any other input is appreciated as well. Thank you!

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    Amanda Caruso
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  • 2.  RE: Thoughts/Advice on Working Remotely

    Posted 19 days ago
    ​There can be a lot of distractions working from home, depending on your environment - kids? pets?  Personally, I feel just as productive working from home.  As a coder, your employer will require measured productivity and will be subject to coding audits.  Working from home keeps you away from office politics and the day-to-day pettiness routinely exhibited by staff.  As long as you stay focused, it should not be a problem.  Good luck.

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    Lisa Finley
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  • 3.  RE: Thoughts/Advice on Working Remotely

    Posted 19 days ago
    Hi Amanda,
    Congratulations on nearing the end of your classes.  I did the majority of my classes remotely,  which I think prepared me really well for being able to work from home. I definitely like being in charge of the thermostat and coffee pot.  :-)  I keep in touch with colleagues and other coding friends and resources through email, phone and chat applications, like Skype.  I have good friends who really don't like being as isolated, as you are when you are remote, but if having bodies near by isn't a high priority and you are able to stay on task without literally being watched, then you should do fine. I wish you lots of luck in your future.

    Laura

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    Laura Hoot, RHIT,CCS
    AMI Senior Coding Professional
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  • 4.  RE: Thoughts/Advice on Working Remotely

    Posted 18 days ago

    ​Whether or not working remotely is productive is really a matter of the individual.  The first two responses were good - however, my experiences are completely different.  Living in the Northeast, I appreciate the opportunity to do so when the weather is bad during the winter.  However, I have found working on site is much better for me.  Not just for production statistics, but the interactions with others means I get answers to my questions quicker plus I can help people who may come to me for assistance.  Yes, there are the electronic methods to communicate, but face-to-face, when possible, has always been preferred.  Shutting out office gossip or politics is no different than shutting out distractions at home such as kids, pets, non-business phone calls, etc.  This isn't to say the other two respondents who like working from home are wrong - just that for me personally, I much prefer to conduct my work and business in the office.  Also, again a personal preference - I find it easier to separate work life from personal/family life by working at the office.  Separate places help that as I have found the days I do work at home, I keep work life in the home for a much longer period before shutting it down for the night.

    Just my $0.02 - thank you.



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    Lance Smith
    Director, Him
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  • 5.  RE: Thoughts/Advice on Working Remotely

    Posted 13 days ago
    I totally see Lance's point that it's definitely a matter of preference.  I have friends who have stayed on site after the opportunity to go home was presented to them.  They just didn't feel it was a good fit for them.  If face-to-face interaction is high on the list for what makes the ideal work environment, then remote work probably won't be as rewarding as it could be.  This is something that should be considered first before going home.  The rest is logistics.  You could have the perfect home office set up, but if you miss live interaction, then no gadget, gizmo, or communication venue will be able to give you the same experience.
    Laura

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    Laura Hoot, RHIT,CCS
    AMI Senior Coding Professional
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  • 6.  RE: Thoughts/Advice on Working Remotely

    Posted 17 days ago
    I think there are a lot of pros and cons.  I was "onsite" for 20+ years before going remote 8 years ago.  For me, it was a great move.  But for some it's not all it's cracked up to be.  I think it takes a special type of person to work remotely -- you do have to be really disciplined and for many there are just too many temptations.  Depending on your environment, you may have to "train" others to realize that just because you're home doesn't necessarily mean you're available.

    In the position I'm currently in (a manager) I work with a lot of remote coders.  Although remote work can be more flexible, I see people working some crazy hours; sometimes because of family obligations and sometimes because they are working multiple jobs.  I know of remote coders who work 2 or 3 coding jobs at once.

    My personal opinion is that every new coder should be "onsite" for at least a couple of years.  A lot more effort has to be put into communication in the remote world, and in the learning stages it's much easier and much more productive to be face to face.  I think that coding in coding classes is one thing, but it's nothing like coding in the real world (and I've been thru the transition from paper to EMR, the advent of CDI, queries, RAC, you name it).  Working onsite gives you that immediate ability to talk to a coding mentor that sometimes isn't as easy in the remote world.

    With the exception of some companies, in the remote world you may find yourself pigeon-holed into coding one patient type.  Most remote companies are not in the business of teaching coders how to progress from coding OP/ED charts to SDS charts to IP charts.  If you only demonstrate a skill for coding OP/ED charts on your resume, that's always where you'll be placed.  Working onsite, you may have the ability to work the majority of your day in your skillset, and spend some of your day learning a new patient type.  I consider myself an "old school coder" who started out coding OP, then progressed thru the usual chain -- ED, OPS/OBSV, then IP, having to become extremely proficient in each type before moving on to the next.

    The upside is some of the flexibility if it is used wisely.  There's no commute, no distractions within the office, and you don't have to spend a lot of money on work clothes...

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    Robyn McCoart, RHIT
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  • 7.  RE: Thoughts/Advice on Working Remotely

    Posted 12 days ago
    I agree with everyone who has commented thus far. Working remotely takes a certain kind of person. As a manager I agree that a beginning coder needs to work in the office for additional training because real world scenarios are very different from the case scenarios in the textbooks. I require coders to work in house for at least a year and be certified before they are able to go home to work remotely. We also have a hybrid environment where they work in house a few days and home a couple of days. Plus when weather is bad they can adjust and stay home. It is a good fit for us but I know not all companies are that flexible.

    For a beginner you need to be able to ask questions and discuss with others in person. As well as getting to know the people you will be working with remotely and providers/nurses for queries it is nice to put a face to the coder and try to build the work relationship with them if you can.

    Good luck on your final classes. It is a great job field to get into and very rewarding.

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    Beth Kosman, RHIT, CCS, CCS-P
    HIM Director
    Ringgold County Hospital
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