Communication and preparation are key: supporting contracted Clinical Coders for increased quality and efficiency


Clinical coding is a pivotal function in the healthcare system. Industry requirements for dependable and robust health data to support research, quality improvement, service planning, and financial reimbursement models are ever-increasing. Unfortunately, it is no secret that Australia, and our international counterparts, are facing ongoing Clinical Coder (CC) workforce shortages. As a result, contracted services are becoming a routine and essential part of delivering a productive clinical coding service in Australian hospitals. As the usage of contracted clinical coding services increases, it is important that clinical coding departments are getting the most out of their existing coding resources as well as the contracted CCs. Given that hospitals’ health information and clinical coding management teams are often under-staffed and in demand, the issue arises surrounding how the clinical coding departments and managers can support contract CCs to improve efficiency, clinical coding quality and provide a positive experience for all.

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Letter from the Editor


Joanne Fitzgerald image

Welcome to Issue 1 of 2024. We all understand how rapidly technology evolves, in our personal lives as well as in our roles as Health Information Managers (HIMs). Many of us are working in areas where we are witness to significant technological changes in how health care is delivered, from clinicians providing care via video, or remotely monitoring a patient’s biomarkers on a continual basis to entire ‘virtual hospitals’ where clinicians deliver health care without a patient ever stepping foot in a hospital building. In many cases, legislation and policy does not always keep pace with these changes. Campbell and Rigden (2024) discuss one of these evolving areas of technology, the recording of clinical interactions. The authors describe the implications for consent, privacy and record keeping, and provide some professional advice for HIMs to consider.

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Settling the injury narrative score: a health information management student and supervisor reflection


Understanding the complexities of injury relies heavily on the narrative data captured at the triage point of contact in emergency departments (ED’s). ED-based injury surveillance systems, such as the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit (QISU), process and analyse the injury narrative data that is captured in ED systems such as the Emergency Department Information System and FirstNet in participating Queensland public hospitals. With considerations to the limitations and difficulties of capturing injury narrative data, a project was initiated by the QISU called Settling the Injury Narrative Score in 2021.

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The development of a refined classification for subacute and non-acute care: Australian National Subacute and Non-Acute Patient Classification Version 5.0


Subacute and non-acute care is currently classified using the Australian National Subacute and Non-Acute Patient (AN-SNAP) Classification Version 4 (V4), which has been used by the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) to price admitted subacute and non-acute care since 1 July 2016 for the purpose of activity based funding (ABF). IHPA undertakes regular review of all ABF classifications to ensure they reflect changes to patient complexity and cost over time. In 2018–19, IHPA commenced a review into the subacute and non-acute classification, resulting in the development of a refined classification.

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