ICD-9 coders are adept professionals. They extract information from clinical documentation and assign a code – often from memory. ICD-10 changes all this. It wipes out coders’ memories and requires a complete re-tooling of their skills. The sheer volume of codes requires much more analysis and research by these life-long, career professionals. Coders’ focus will change. Their skill sets will transition.
- New Skills
- Expanded Knowledge
- Better Opportunities
With ICD-10, coders must fully understand the ramifications of revenue cycle, audit, and clinical documentation. This larger view forces coders to step outside the world of HIM and build new skills in communication, tact, and cross department relationship building.
On the flip side, ICD-10 drives new benefits for clinical coders. Doors will open in the areas of new opportunities, expanded professionalism and more career options. To seize these opportunities, coders must insist on expanded education and training from their employers. They must become more clinically adept while also increasing their knowledge of charge masters, revenue codes, modifiers, and UBs.
Get Ready to Shine!
To excel in this new active world, it behooves coders to become much more active in the transition to ICD-10. You can help drive the process by getting the skills you need now versus waiting until 2014. TrustHCS recently conducted an ICD-10 readiness survey. Nearly 100 percent of respondents stated that coders would (or are) undergoing additional training.
Make sure your training is broad and wide. Understand the impact of ICD-10 across all departments. Think horizontal workflow with ICD-10. And abandon the vertical silos of ICD-9.
For more tips on how coders can prepare for ICD-10 and HIM Directors can prepare, read my September blog here.