February 20, 2012

ICD-10 Coding Education and Training: Planning for Success

By Gloryanne Bryant, RHIA, RHIT, CCS, CCDS

The transition to ICD-10-CM/PCS, encompassing both diagnosis and procedure coding, is the biggest change in the United States healthcare system that most of us can remember or have experienced in our careers. Not even with Y2K and HIPAA regulations have we seen this wide or this deep an impact – and thus a very strategic management approach and specialized education and training is vital to ensuring a smooth conversion. Strong HIM coding leadership and guidance is needed for ICD-10 readiness. The key steps and components for a successful education and training plan for ICD-10 require planning and execution.

It will be important to have a well thought-out and crafted plan for ICD-10 coding education and training. This would include a phased approach over several years. Project management will assist with the planning, establishing the timeline and deliverables, and identifying the risks or barriers. It truly is an exciting and challenging time, thus preparation, communication and organization of a well thought-out plan will put you and your organization or practice on the right track.

Coding is a high-impact, high-priority work process representing a section of the overall implementation that’s key to readiness for October 2013.  Having phases that include assessment, prerequisite education and code set training will help drive forward your plans and implementation with strength and vigor.

Coding assessment phase: coding assessment should be conducted now if it hasn’t been already. Assessment provides insight into the gaps of your strengths and weaknesses. ICD-10 requires enhanced coder knowledge in several health science areas: medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, disease process (pathophysiology) and pharmacology. Because ICD-10 has more granular classification by epidemiology, body/organ systems and the etiology or nature of the disease process, this requires greater foundational knowledge to be successful when learning the actual coding system.

Prerequisite education phase: this phase is focused on the delivery of education of the core foundational health sciences, which is included in the assessment phase. Education can be designed to deliver a course in each of the health sciences or as an integrated approach covering the health sciences through the different body systems. There are many options in the vendor community to meet the needs of very small to very large integrated healthcare systems.

ICD-10 code set education and training phase: the actual education and training involving the coding guidelines, conventions and code sets is pivotal to gaining understanding and comfort with ICD-10.  In addition, this phase must include time for the practice of coding so that one’s skills are honed in preparation for the implementation.

Go live and post-go live phase: Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 will be a day many of us are anxious about, so planning and anticipating for the go-live will be critical. Besides having all systems working properly, the coding staff will begin to assign ICD-10 codes. Will you be able to identify issues and problems quickly during the initial weeks? Post-go live will include monitoring and auditing for compliance and accuracy. Additional education and training most likely will be needed, so plan accordingly into 2014. Remember that everything doesn’t stop on the first of October; your post go-live planned activities are also required for success.

The next steps for you and your ICD-10 implementation committee are to secure the resources and budgeting for this important education and training work. The clock is ticking; we are down to the final 21 months, so now is the time for a strong ICD-10 coding education and training plan to get in motion.

Success is yours for the making.

About the Author

Gloryanne Bryant, RHIA, RHIT, CCS, CCDS, is the Regional Managing Director of HIM for Kaiser’s 21 acute care hospitals in Northern California. Gloryanne is a Certified AHIMA ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer.

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