Opportunity in Disruption: Embracing Change in Healthcare

by Angela Gerbert, BS, CCS, CDIP, CIC, COC, CPC-I

The post-COVID-19 world, whenever we finally get there, is likely to be different in ways that are hard to anticipate. Whatever disruption you are now facing, know that most of us, individually and our organizations, will survive.

I encourage each of you to make yourself that indispensable team player: the one who helps your organization to survive; the one who determines what needs to be done and gets it accomplished; the one who ensures that HIM is part of the future and able to contribute our essential skills in meaningful ways.

Consider these useful tips for dealing with change at work:

1. Recognize that you are not alone. Many coders have been furloughed, reassigned or are simply receiving less work to do. Take this time to reflect on your goals and start working your plan.
2. Replace fearful thoughts with something positive. You have experienced change in the past (remember ICD-10 implementation?) and you succeeded. Call on those same reservoirs of emotional strength to get you through this. How did you handle change in the past? What actions did you take? Training on new skills can be a positive step towards more flexibility in the future.
3. Embrace the change. Be part of the change. Realize that every change creates an opportunity to redefine your future. Volunteer for new assignments and responsibilities. Be part of the team driving the change.
4. Communication. Be proactive. Talk to your boss, your direct reports, your colleagues in other departments, and your friends in your professional association. Ask constructive questions to find out what is happening in their world. The more you know, the more options you will have.
5. Pay attention to your well-being. Focus on being strong, fit, healthy and resilient. Be calm and in control, make rational decisions. Exercise, eat well, breathe deeply and smile.
6. Have a sense of your own worth. Take stock of your value to your organization: your skills and knowledge and what you have accomplished in the past. Remind them that you are that indispensable team player.
7. Do your work. Do the work in front of you with a positive attitude. Accept new responsibilities for what they are: a vote of confidence in your ability to be part of the future.

Though often attributed to Charles Darwin, it was Leon Megginson who wrote: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most adaptable to change.”

I encourage you to embrace the changes around you. Stay well. Stay healthy.


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About the Author

Angela Gerbert
Angela Gerbert applies a hands-on approach to her role as the Director of Education for Libman Education. Whether overseeing the work of subject matter experts including nationally recognized coding authorities; challenging instructional designers to deliver content in a way that is both engaging and memorable; or tapping her 25 years’ experience in inpatient, outpatient, and emergency room coding to write coder-friendly courses herself, Angela is responsible for ensuring that our training is accurate, easily accessible, and challenging.

3 thoughts on “Opportunity in Disruption: Embracing Change in Healthcare

  1. Sharon Latier - April 23, 2020 at 6:10 am

    thank you for this. People should also try to learn new types of coding that they normally don’t do or that there is not time to train. NOW is the perfect time to learn

  2. Maria Isabel Dos Santos - May 8, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    This is a great motivational article for coders still on their jobs facing the chance of having to code a different specialty. But, what can you tell the ones who lost their jobs due to the pandemic? Most of us will love to have opportunities out there! Training in new skills after being furlough requires investment of our part and not all of us can afford. Are there any advice on how to move to the future still working in the profession we love?

    • Angela Lehoux - May 11, 2020 at 11:39 pm

      Hi Maria,
      Sorry to hear you have been furloughed. This pandemic has certainly brought the nation into uncharted waters. My advice to anyone that has been furloughed is to do what you can to stay fresh. If it isn’t possible for you to spend money on further education, then spend time reading through the guidelines in the codesets. If it was a specialty you were coding in, then do some research to better understand that specialty and the procedures that are done within it. These things will help you be prepared to go back to work.