5 tips for ICD-10 success

By Michelle McNickle
08:22 AM

October 1, 2013 may seem like a long time away, but, as they say, the early bird gets the worm. And in this case, 69,099 worms, or ICD-10 diagnostic codes, warrant an ahead-of-the-game approach to transition.

Melanie Endicott, manager of professional practice resources at the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), also agrees that now is the time to be moving forward with ICD-10-CM/PCS planning and implementation. 

"We are experiencing a challenging and exciting time in healthcare as we prepare to catch up with the rest of the world in using modern classification systems to improve the capture of healthcare information," said Endicott. "Implementation of ICD-10-CM/PCS will advance healthcare by producing better data needed for quality measurement, public health, research, organizational monitoring and performance and reimbursement."

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[See also: ICD-10 deadline extended two years to 2013.]

Recognizing the challenges that come with implementation and use, Endicott offered five tips to ICD-10 success. 

1. Establish a plan. Endicott believes creating a plan ahead of time is essential to ensuring a successful transition to ICD-10. "For example, training to create ICD-10 code set impact awareness throughout the organization, if not already completed, should begin today," she said. According to an AMA fact sheet concerning ICD-10 implementation, the first step is to complete a list of all systems that currently include diagnostic codes. Whether they’re electronic or manual work processes, both will need to be updated for ICD-10.  And keep in mind that one of the biggest challenges when upgrading systems is coordinating the work. If multiple systems need to be upgraded, you may need to coordinate the timing of the upgrades among different vendors. 

2. Develop training. "A key to success is targeted, incremental training," said Endicott. When establishing a plan that meets your organization's needs, consider a thorough assessment of all staff to identify education requirements. This will help develop targeted education plans organization-wide.  After assessing the level of involvement each staff person has with diagnostic coding, you can easily determine which members will require the most training. "During training, look for any gaps in the administrative staff's knowledge that needs to be addressed," the AMA fact sheet stated. "Because of the greater detail in the ICD-10 diagnosis codes, additional training may be needed in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology. The level of additional training and resources needed will depend on the staff's role in coding and current level of knowledge."

Continued on the next page. 

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