Find Your Routine: Don't Leave Any Loose Ends

Apr 01, 2019

When it comes to coding and documentation, finding your own rhythm can lead to positive results. For our series, Find Your Routine, we interviewed our most productive coders and asked them what steps they take to find a rhythm that works for them. 


This week, we talked with Zahra Ghahremani​, CCS, Coding Specialist at Health Information Associates, about the steps she takes to find her routine.

Q: Describe in detail your daily routine.

A: I start my day with a cup of coffee in bed brought to me by my husband every morning. We try to have a positive and uplifting conversation to make us feel good to start the day. After a goodbye kiss, I make my way to work where I sit down and begin logging in, checking emails, and making a list of new accounts to get a feel of the upcoming day’s workload. After entering all of the patient information, I begin my coding process by reviewing the Dis/sum. By looking at the DS first and going through charts after, I know what’s valid and what needs more research on Google or SharePoint. Every couple of hours, I take a 5 minute break to score 250 steps on my FitBit. After I’m done with work, I like to walk around the neighborhood to get some fresh air, exercise, and organize my thoughts.


Q: How do you maintain your routine day after day, week after week?

A: I think the secret to maintaining any routine or building a habit is to remember to start out with baby steps. If I am trying to work something into my routine, I work my way up to it. For example, If I wanted to start doing home workouts after work, I would maybe only do 5 minutes the first day, and 10 minutes the second and build my way up to where I want to get to. As long as I did something that day, I am still making progress.


Q: What techniques have you found to minimize distractions?

A: I have a couple of simple techniques to stay away from distractions during the workday. First, I like to get in the right mindset before I start working so I can focus properly. Second, I make sure to put my phone on Do Not Disturb so that my phone won’t get me off track.

Q: What are the productivity goals that you set for yourself? And how do you track them?

A: As far as productivity goals go, I try to stay on the time limits for each chart. If I get behind, I try to catch up on the next chart or even the next day. My main goal is accuracy and I try to maximize that alongside productivity. I definitely won’t leave any loose ends by the end of the day. I’ll finish whatever I can before logging off. I often track my productivity in the HIA website. Sometimes, it’s not very promising but since it’s cumulative, I always have an opportunity to improve.


Q: What motivates you the most? Positive feedback from managers, self-motivation by reaching personal goals, financing incentives? Or other?

A: All of the options sound very nice. Positive feedback would help mentally and the incentives would help financially.

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