Clinical coding is a vital to mandatory data reporting at every NHS organisation, paramount to understanding the quality of service delivery, effective improvement planning and development, and receiving accurate payment through the National Tariff Payment System (NTPS).
With activity increasing and coding staff redeployed to frontline teams or unavailable due to self-isolation, the functioning of NHS coding departments has been largely disrupted. Although the NTPS has been temporarily suspended, it is still mandatory to return SUS data to enable national analysis, which is particularly important to monitoring the spread and effects of COVID-19.
The disruption means, however, that accurately tracking performance is difficult. As the battle against COVID-19 continues, many coding teams may find themselves under pressure and struggling to meet the delivery requirements. It could also have longer-term implications, creating a potential backlog which will have an ongoing impact on data collection.
High-quality data flows to NHS Digital and the Secondary Uses Service (SUS) are essential to service planning, benchmarking and understanding unwarranted variation1. These data flows will also play a key role during the COVID-19 pandemic for providing insight into the condition of discharged patients and the cause of deaths.
As we move beyond the first wave of COVID-19, accurate clinical coding should help to establish where care and treatment has been particularly effective and help us to prepare for a second wave of COVID-19 infections. Data must be the starting point for our fightback against this virus and clinical coding is its foundation.
If you would like more information on how Capita’s clinical coding services can support your organisation, email firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Capita’s remote clinical coding team can strengthen in-house teams, ensuring the consistency and continuation of data during the pandemic. Our team members all have Accredited Clinical Coder status and can start coding immediately via secure remote access using defined protocols. The service is flexible, available on a short-term or longer-term basis, and our systems are compatible with all NHS systems. Our team has vast experience remote clinical coding for healthcare organisations across the UK. We are the largest supplier of clinical coding services to the NHS and private healthcare organisations, coding more than 350,000 patient episodes every year.