How to create an ICD-10 training plan

By Carl Natale
10:18 AM

ICD-10 training programs need to raise awareness of the new coding requirements and formal training for key personnel.

According to the ICD10 Watch Timeline, you should have your training plan finalized by May 31.

Assess needed training and education

Training programs need to cover:

  • ICD-10-CM/PCS codes
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical terminology
  • Internal procedures

Identify what level of education and subjects are needed for each set of staff members.

Levels of education needed

You can break it down into three lives of training:

ICD-10 codes
  • Medical coders are the obvious candidates for this level of training. They need to learn:

    • ICD-10-CM/PCS code set
    • Anatomy and physiology refreshers
    • Some could be trained t become in-house trainers

      • Skills they would need beyond ICD-10 knowledge:

        • Public speaking skills
        • Comfortable with change and learning
        • Ability to organize and plan training sessions
        • Desire to do more than coding
  • Coding champion would be staff members with ICD-10 training who could:

    • Educate and create awareness among the non-coding staff
    • Help understand what vendors are selling
    • Plan implementation and testing
  • Non-coding staff members need some knowledge of the requirements and structure of ICD-10 code sets


This needs to start immediately in places such as:

  • "Patient Registration"
  • "Central Scheduling"
  • "Utilization Review"
  • "Quality Improvement"
  • "Ancillary Departments: Lab, Rad, Respiratory, Etc."
  • "Infection Control"
  • "Patient Accounting"
  • "Dietary"
  • Source: Overlooking Little 'C' Coders Puts ICD-10 At Risk

Create an education plan that fits their schedules and needs

  • Explain how their work with ICD-10 codes will affect reimbursement.
  • Assess what they need to know:

    • Major differences between ICD-9 codes and ICD-codes
    • ICD-10 cheat sheets

Communicate regularly with management, IT staff and medical staff about:

  • Differences between ICD-9 and ICD-10 code sets
  • Differences between ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS code sets
  • Regulatory requirements
  • Value of ICD-10 code sets
  • How ICD-10 implementation works with other initiatives
  • Impact on coding productivity and accuracy
  • Budget impacts
  • How the transition will impact departments
  • Impact on physicians' time
  • How ICD-10 coding could affect patient encounters
  • Updates on progress of the ICD-10 transition

Recruit physicians and other clinicians to help champion your ICD-10 project. This has two key benefits:

  • Physicians and clinicians will be more influential in getting colleagues to cooperate. Which will come in handy when they learn they need to add more detail to documentation.
  • Physicians and clinicians can offer reality checks to how things really work in your practice. Something that the IT staff or consultants may not be aware of.

Procedural training

ICD-10 implementation will mean new procedures and systems. Staff will need to learn:

  • How to use new software and tools

    • Electronic health records (EHRs)
    • Computer assisted coding (CAC) systems
    • Practice management systems
  • New forms such as superbills
  • New billing and claims procedures
  • New documentation procedures
  • Clinical documentation improvement (CDI) initiatives

    • Impact on documentation
    • CDI strategy

Training options

Pick the best training options — which include:

  • Formal classroom sessions
  • In-house sessions
  • Remote, online sessions

Schedule training

  • Arrange sessions for staff
  • Spread training so coding shifts covered
  • Plan training slots for yet-to-be hired personnel

Investigate hiring training vendors

Budget resources

  • Cost of training sessions and materials
  • Time for staff members to learn.
  • Cost of staff or temp workers who cover while your people are in training sessions
  • Cost of outsourcing medical coding while staff coders are in training sessions


Carl Natale blogs regularly at