May 2, 2011

Is Anatomy and Physiology Changing?


By now we all have heard that coders will need to brush up on anatomy and physiology before the implementation of ICD-10-CM/PCS, but why? It’s not like the anatomy and physiology of the human body are changing with the switch to ICD-10.

Anatomy is the study of the structures, form and organization of the body parts, while physiology examines the functions of body parts. The majority of coders and other HIM professionals already have a good understanding of anatomy and physiology, however the application of that knowledge is different in ICD-10-CM/PCS, and these two areas of expertise are a fundamental component of this classification system.

With ICD-10-CM/PCS, coders, auditors, CDI and other HIM professionals really need to understand the disease process and how a procedure is being performed in order to determine the appropriate code.

To code an arterial bypass procedure in ICD-9-CM, for example, we only need to know which artery was bypassed, but ICD-10-CM/PCS codes require a greater level of specificity for code assignment – so we not only will need to know which artery was involved, but where it is located, what approach was used, what type of repair was performed and whether any device was used in the procedure.

Classifying body parts and organ systems, root operations, surgical approaches and devices may present a problem for coders who don’t have a thorough understanding of anatomy, procedural terminology and how procedures are performed. For example, coders will be required to differentiate between excision or resection, occlusions or restrictions, release or division.

Coders and HIM professionals work in a variety of settings, so familiarity with anatomy and physiology, disease processes and surgical procedures will vary. Most coding students take a basic anatomy and physiology course, but more advanced knowledge will be needed. Even if we have learned advanced anatomy and physiology, how long ago was that? Developing a solid foundation of anatomy and physiology knowledge ahead of time will help prepare us for—and ease—the transition to ICD-10-CM/PCS.

About the Author

Sarah A. Serling, CCS, CCS-P, CPC, CPC-H, CPC-I, CEMC, ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer, is a Medical Coding Educator/Developer for Precyse. Sarah is credentialed by the AHIMA as an ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer, a Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) and Certified Physician-based Coding Specialist (CCS-P). She is also credentialed by the AAPC as a certified coding instructor (CPC-I) and as a certified professional coder of physician (CPC) and hospital services (CPC-H) with specialty certification in auditing and coding Evaluation/Management Services (CEMC).

Read 2 times Updated on September 23, 2013