propriate to have these forms signed and updated on an annual
The following is an excerpt from a sample telecommuting
x I have read and understand the attached Telecommuting
Policy and agree to the duties, obligations, responsibili-
ties, and conditions for telecommuters described in that
x I agree that, among other things, I am responsible for es-
tablishing specific telecommuting work hours, furnishing
and maintaining my remote work space in a safe manner,
employing appropriate telecommuting security mea-
sures, and protecting company assets, information, trade
secrets, and systems.
x I understand that telecommuting is voluntary and I may
stop telecommuting at any time. I also understand that
the company may at any time change any or all of the con-
ditions under which I am permitted to telecommute, or
withdraw permission to telecommute. 1
An organization should never
send remote coders original
medical records due to
compliance risks, including the
loss or destruction of the records.
The Remote Coding Workspace
Once the policies and procedures have been developed and
HIM and IS have completed the security assessment, remote
coders must understand how to make their remote workspaces
When designing the work area, it is more secure to face the
computer screen away from doorways and windows to prevent
someone from viewing patient health information. Entertaining guests, children, or spouses in the work area while accessing
patient health information is not appropriate.
Remote employees must never leave computers available for
access when they are not present. They should get into the habit
of locking the computer when not working, and log-ins should
time out after a period of inactivity.
It is very important to make certain that all patient health information is safe and secure in the remote coder’s office area.
Hard-copy records sent from the facility to the employee need
to be stored in a locked desk drawer or filing cabinet until the records can be properly disposed of. The disposal process should
be part of the remote coding policy and procedures.
An organization should never send remote coders original
medical records due to compliance risks, including the loss or
destruction of the records while outside of the organization. If
the organization needs to send copies of patient files, it would
be more compliant to send them on an encrypted CD or DVD
rather than paper. The encryption will protect the patient’s information against access if the disc is misplaced or lost during
There are many risks associated with a remote coding program. However, with the proper secure equipment and private networks, assistance from IS in making the transition, and
training of the remote employee, a successful program can be
achieved and well received. ¢
1. Fletcher, Donna. “Telecommuting.” February 1999. Available in the AHIMA Body of Knowledge at www.ahima.org.
Angie Comfort ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a professional practice resource director at AHIMA.