The 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems has the potential for delivering a myriad of performance improvement opportunities in medical settings. Proper training on the new set of codes, however, will be essential for health care providers to reap the benefits. The new set of more than 14,000 codes is used for diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or disease.
“Migration to ICD-10 involves much more than just converting codes, expanding data fields or even installing brand-new ICD-10-compliant systems,” reports Sashi Padarthy of Health Management Technology. “At its most basic level, migration to ICD-10 is about exchanging one diagnostic and procedure clinical terminology for a richer and greatly expanded set. However, this drastically oversimplifies the scope of people, processes and information technology that will be significantly impacted by the use of this new terminology.”
Each type of health care professional will be impacted differently by the switch to ICD-10 and therefore, training must reflect those unique needs. To avoid any issues with the transition to the new set, Padarthy gave an overview regarding the varying levels of training that will be required:
- – Medical coders will require the highest level of training, as they will be responsible for coding the medical records.
- – Some staff may just require training on diagnostic coding, while other staff will require training on diagnostic and procedure coding as well as anatomy and physiology.
- – Proficiency in computer-assisted coding will increasingly need to become mainstream.
- – Physicians will need to be trained on ICD-10 and its clinical concepts as it pertains to their specialties, but will also need focused training on clinical documentation to ensure that a sufficient explanation of patient condition and services is available for the coder to be able to assign the appropriate ICD-10 code.
- – Training on advanced clinical documentation technologies, such as speech recognition and natural language processing, will also be important.
- – Staff members that do not have a high level of interaction with ICD codes today would require a basic level of understanding so that they are aware of the changes that are being implemented and how they will impact the organization.
The deadline for full adoption of the ICD-10 is set for October 2014, however, considering the extent of the changes, it is recommended that training begin as soon as possible. In fact, The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services suggests that medical practices allow for several years of preparation to properly roll out the new code set.