Help for physicians in planning for the ICD-10 transition

By Carl Natale of ICD-10 Watch , posted at PhysBizTech

Physicians will be a key part of making the ICD-10 transition successful. This post focuses on helping doctors become more comfortable with the new code sets.

HealthStream outlined these steps in the white paper “Preparing a Successful ICD-10 Transition : Helping Physicians Succeed in an ICD-10 World.”

Physicians need to look at the ICD-10 transition as more than an administrative burden because ICD-10 implementation will be part of more than just medical claim reimbursements:

  • The ICD-10 data will be used in heathcare reform initiatives.
  • More expensive treatments and diagnoses will require more documentation.
  • Physicians will be judged on documentation.

Learning ICD-10 coding will be a huge task but physicians won’t need to learn the whole code set. Thus ICD-10 training programs need to emphasize coding strategies not codes:

    • Focus on documentation principles that can apply to any disease
      • Site
      • Laterality
      • Timing
      • Manifestations
      • Stage
      • Status
      • Drug, alcohol or tobacco dependency
    • Focus on areas that need improvement
    • Do not focus on principal diagnosis
      • Learn how to code underlying conditions
    • Prepare EHRs
      • Incorporate ICD-10 into templates and prompts
        • Code and code descriptions
        • Documentation requirements

Remember there are many ways to teach people:

  • Online lessons and webinars
  • Peer led workshops and classes
  • Mobile apps and resources
  • CDI specialists
  • Simulations
  • Printed resources
  • Video games
  • One-on-one coaching

It’s OK to use different learning tools to reach different physicians.

Physician training steps

  • Identify physicians and staff members who need training
  • Assess physician documentation strengths and weaknesses
  • Develop lessons based upon specialties and documentation gaps
  • Develop training timeline
    • Estimate time needed
    • Schedule start and finish dates
    • Allow for practice and follow up assessments
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