Valerie Juniat, Sarju Athwal & Mona KhandwalaRead More
Hospitals in England are reimbursed via national tariffs set out by NHS England. The tariffs payable to hospitals are determined by the activity coded for each patient’s hospital visit. There are no national standards or publications within oculoplastics for coding accuracy. Our audit aimed to determine the accuracy of coding oculoplastic procedures carried out in theatres and to assess the financial implications of any discrepancies.Methods
We carried out a prospective audit of consecutive oculoplastic procedures performed at one hospital site over a 6-week period. We subsequently created a coding proforma and performed a re-audit using the same methods.
In the first cycle, clinical coding was ‘correct’ in 30.7% of cases, ‘incomplete’ for 12.9% and ‘incorrect’ for 56.5%. Of the ‘incorrect’ codes, 54.3% were coded as non-oculoplastic procedures (e.g. extraocular muscle surgery). We discussed our findings with the coding team in order to address the sources of error. We also created a ‘tick box’ coding proforma, for completion by surgeons. Our re-audit results showed an improvement of ‘correct’ coding to 85.7%.
Clinical coding is complex and vulnerable to inaccuracy. Our audit showed a high rate of coding error, which improved following collaboration with our coding team to address the sources of error and by creating a coding proforma to improve accuracy. Accurate clinical coding has financial implications for hospital trusts and consequently Clinical Commissioning Groups. In times of severe financial pressures, this could be a valuable tool, if rolled out over all specialities, to make much needed savings.