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Compensation Best Practices Toolkit

The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) is actively engaged in offering our professional expertise to address compensation as it relates to current and future roles in healthcare documentation, quality assurance, compensation models, and the impact technological advances have had.

The reasons for changes to compensation models throughout all healthcare organizations and MTSOs are compelling. Widespread adoption of the electronic health record (EHR) has changed the landscape of healthcare documentation creation. Early assumptions that transcriptionists could be eliminated from the documentation process and replaced by technologies such as direct provider entry with front-end speech recognition have been proven to present clear risks to documentation integrity. Inaccurate and redundant documentation as a result of such practices as “copy-and-paste” have come to the attention of The Joint Commission and resulted in the recommendation that a process for monitoring the accuracy of clinical records be implemented.

Documentation as a result of new technologies and processes, including downsizing or eliminating healthcare documentation specialists, leads to errors in patient records and the potential for sentinel events. The Compensation Best Practices Toolkit is designed to assist facilities with the adoption and implementation of policies and training practices that will promote healthy and fair compensation practices. This kit includes the white paper Application and Relevance of Compensation Best Practices in Healthcare Documentation, as well as documents that address current and future roles, skill sets, and levels of knowledge. In addition, the kit includes the rationale for understanding various pay models and technological impacts on compensation, and also for promoting the implementation of quality checkpoints. Compensation transparency in healthcare documentation is also addressed.


Application and Relevance of Compensation Best Practices—Provides an overview of and reasons for developing this Compensation Best Practices Toolkit.

Job Roles and Responsibilities—Defines skill levels, roles, and work settings. Also includes job descriptions for future roles and outlines their impact on wages.

Quality and Compensation—Discusses the impact compensation has on quality assurance and provides helpful information and points to consider when deciding to tie compensation to quality assurance.

Technological Impact on Compensation—Outlines three technology areas that impact compensation and provides points of careful consideration.

Understanding Pay Models and External Factors—Outlines a variety of pay models such as hourly, hourly with incentive, and production; and also defines various line counting methodologies currently being used.

Compensation Transparency for Healthcare Documentation Specialists—Provides tips and helpful questions for both new and veteran healthcare documentation specialists to ask when seeking employment, to understand the compensation model by which you’re being paid.


Sample: Production by Minutes
Sample: Production by Lines
Visual Black Character (VBC) Standard Unit of Measure White Paper (Source: AHDI)


ECRI Institute’s Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns for 2014 (formerly Emergency Care Research Institute)
Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare
Quick Safety Paper (Source: Joint Commission)
Decreased Reimbursement (Source:
The critical role of MTs in EMR documentation (Source: For The Record magazine)
Transcription translates to patient risk (The Joint Commission)


Task Force Members

Sherry Doggett, Chair
Carole Gilbert, RHIT, CHTS-IM
Cheryl Klopcic, RN, BSN, RHIT, CMT
Daysha Weller, RHDS
Janine Woodhull
Joyce Smith
Lee Marie Tkachuk
Patricia King


Melissa Harper
Debbie Krapfl, RHIT, AHDI-F
Jackie Linabury, CHDS
Shaw Rietkerk
Rebecca McSwain, PhD, CHDS
Bonnie Bakal, CMT, AHDI-F
Karen Fox-Acosta, CHDS, AHDI-F
Sheila Guston, CHDS, AHDI-F
Diane Warth, RHIT, CHDS, AHDI-F
Leigh Anne Frame, CHDS, AHDI-F


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