How to Solve Coder Overtime Burnout

Burnout has exploded since the start of COVID-19, and it’s not just physicians feeling the burn. According to HHS, the pandemic intensified industry challenges, leading to significant staffing shortages, increased healthcare worker burnout, and other hurdles that will likely persist over the next 5–10 years.


The Great Resignation hit healthcare exceptionally hard, with 524,000 jobs becoming vacant since the start of the pandemic. This loss resulted in across the board staffing shortages reaching critical stages for many hospitals, peaking at 22 percent during the Omicron surge in January and February 2022.


On May 22, 2022, the U.S. Surgeon General noted, “the realities of our healthcare system are driving many workers to burnout. They’re at increased risk for mental health challenges and are choosing to leave the workforce. They work in distressing environments that strain their physical, emotional, and psychological well-being.” The inevitable result is heavier loads carried by those who remain, which will in-turn lead to further burnout and workforce attrition if we don’t get them some relief.


Given what we’ve been seeing in the coding market, AQuity posted a LinkedIn survey asking coders how much overtime they presently average. Unsurprisingly, a full 63% indicated overtime is now expected, with over half of those who indicated required overtime responding that they put in more than an extra hour each day.


CODERS: How Much Overtime Do You Presently Average?

None 37%
1-5 Hours Per Week 26%
6 – 10 Hours Per Week 22%
Over 10 Hours Per Week 15%

Cindy Nicholas, VP of Coding Services for AQuity Solutions, noted, “Mandatory overtime, especially over an extended period of time, impacts more than just coder burnout, which is bad enough. The coding process requires focused attention to fine details, so quality scores will inevitably suffer when coders are overworked for extended periods of time.”

“Looking at coding services from a business standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to pay an hourly premium for long-term overtime expectations when you know you’ll eventually be getting diminishing financial returns on charts being coded,” she added. “Flexible scaling with an outsourced coding services vendor who can take on overflow and control your DNFB makes more sense, for the health of your inhouse workforce, and just as importantly, the ongoing quality of the charts being coded.”

AQuity offers flexible, scalable outsourced coding services and has earned top client scores by 3rd party industry research firms, such as KLAS. With independently validated equivalent quality scores from both our onshore and offshore labor teams, we are able to offer multiple options to reduce your coding workload and costs in this unprecedented light labor market.

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