PRACTICE PEARLS

 

Fam Pract Manag. 2022 Jan-Feb;29(1):33.

SIMPLIFY DOCUMENTATION OF HISTORY AND PHYSICAL EXAM FOR INPATIENT CODING

While history and physical exam are no longer necessary for coding outpatient evaluation and management (E/M) office visits, they are still key components of inpatient and nursing home visits. When coding encounters that still rely on history, the following tips can help family physicians chart more efficiently:

  • You do not need to personally do all of the documentation. Ancillary staff can record past medical history, family history, social history, and review of systems as long as you document that you reviewed it.

  • You do not need to re-record information from a previous encounter as long as you describe any changes or state that there is no change and provide the date.

  • Past medical history, family history, social history, and review of systems may be included in the “history of present illness” or listed separately, but they can only be counted once.

  • Remember that negative statements (e.g., “No history of cardiac disease”) count toward family history, and social history should include both current and past activities that are relevant to health (e.g., past history of tobacco use in a patient who has since quit).

  • For the physical exam, you may choose between documenting systems or bullet points. For systems, it is OK for your documentation to simply be “negative” or “normal.”

CAPTURE ALL OF YOUR TIME FOR OUTPATIENT E/M CODING

Since the beginning of 2021, all outpatient E/M office visits can be coded using either medical decision making alone or total time alone. Time-based coding should include all the time you spend on a patient before, during, and after the exam on the date of the visit (but not staff time). Tracking time for each visit may seem like a pain, but there are some ways to make it easier and ensure you're getting

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

Practice Pearls presents readers' advice on practice operations and patient care, along with tips drawn from the literature. Send us your best pearl (250 words of less), and you'll earn $50 if we publish it. We also welcome questions for our Q&A section. Send pearls, questions, and comments to fpmedit@aafp.org, or add your comments below.

 
 

Copyright © 2022 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact fpmserv@aafp.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.

Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions

CME Quiz

MOST RECENT ISSUE


May-Jun 2022

Access the latest issue
of FPM journal

Read the Issue


FPM E-Newsletter

Sign up to receive FPM's free, weekly e-newsletter, "Quick Tips & Insights."

Sign Up Now