Improving the quality of clinical coding: a comprehensive audit model

Document Type: Articles

Authors

Abstract

Introduction: The review of medical records with the aim of assessing the quality of codes has long been conducted in different countries. Auditing medical coding, as an instructive approach, could help to review the quality of codes objectively using defined attributes, and this in turn would lead to improvement of the quality of codes.Method: The current study aimed to present a model for auditing the quality of clinical codes. The audit model was formed after reviewing other audit models, considering their strengths and weaknesses. A clear definition was presented for each quality attribute and more detailed criteria were then set for assessing the quality of codes.Results: The audit tool (based on the quality attributes included legibility, relevancy, completeness, accuracy, definition and timeliness); led to development of an audit model for assessing the quality of medical coding. Delphi technique was then used to reassure the validity of the model.Conclusion: The inclusive audit model designed could provide a reliable and valid basis for assessing the quality of codes considering more quality attributes and their clear definition. The inter-observer check suggested in the method of auditing is of particular importance to reassure the reliability of coding.Keywords: Quality, Clinical codes, Audit model, Audit tool, Data quality attributes

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