6 Benefits of an External Audit

by | Feb 19, 2018 | Coding Review, Education | 0 comments

Kerry Atkins at Health Information AssociatesKerry Atkins
CDIP, CCS-P, COC, CPC, CPCO, CPMA, CEMC, COBGC, RMB
Physician Services Consultant
Health Information Associates

Hanging wallpaper. Cutting our own hair. Doing our taxes. These are all jobs many of us have tried, with the best of intentions, to tackle on our own. When the results of our efforts are less than ideal (dare I say disastrous) most of us vow to never again attempt such tasks without professional help. That’s not to say we aren’t competent or capable; some jobs just require specific skills and/or are too tedious and time consuming to merit doing on our own.

The same could be said for coding audits. Securing a reliable vendor to perform an external audit has advantages that extend beyond those of internal audits. Kerry Atkins, CCS-P, CPC, CPMA, COBGC, CEMC, CPC-H, Physicians Services Consultant at Health Information Associates, shares six reasons why an external audit can be such a valuable investment.


Many organizations routinely perform internal audits as part of a compliance plan. Internal auditors have an insider’s view of the work flow of the organization. Unfortunately, they are auditing their coworkers, friends or employers.

The impact of not conducting audits and making necessary adjustments could result in compliance deficiencies and/or improper payment due to incorrect billing.

Benefits of an External Audit

  • External audits are completely impartial. The external auditors have no previous relationship with the coders or providers at the organization. Audits can be performed without fear of repercussions in the workplace.
  • External audits may provide validation to situations discovered during internal audits. Sometimes recommendations received by multiple sources are better received.
  • External auditors are on your side. The goal is to look for potential opportunities to keep you compliant.
  • Sometimes an outsider may pick up on something that has previously gone unnoticed. External audits sometimes reveal potential template or system irregularities, which can easily be corrected.
  • Trends can easily be identified and the appropriate education can be provided.
  • External auditors are focused solely on the audit. Internal auditors may have other job duties and responsibilities that could be a hindrance.

Although internal audits are important for an organization, external audits increase the chances of uncovering potential compliance risks. The organization and the external auditors working together ensures that coding is correct and guidelines are followed.

For more information, contact us today.

Coding staff development and training is vitally important in helping to mitigate compliance risks and promote appropriate reimbursements for health systems.

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