The ICD-10 release date is fast approaching. October first will be here before we know it. However, there is still plenty of time to prepare for this enormous change. To make the adjustment as smooth as possible for you and your employees, there are some steps your practice can take now in preparation.
The best thing you can do to prepare is to make sure your staff understands ICD-10. The sooner you start training them, the sooner they will begin to understand the new system. All members need to be on board with this, as this is an extremely large change. There are plenty of programs and classes you can purchase that will help train your practice for the impending changes, or you can choose to learn the coding yourself and relay that information to your employees.
Learn the Most Important Codes
With ICD-9, many practitioners have all of the codes memorized because of the frequency in which they use them. Because of its complexity, ICD-10 will be more difficult to memorize. The codes have 5-7 digits per code, an increase from the current 3-5. Prioritizing codes that will be used frequently makes the task of memorizing them a lot less daunting. It is important to pay attention to what codes are used more often than others and make sure you have those down. The sooner you begin working on memorizing common codes, the easier the transition will be.
Build a Communication Team
Strong communication is what will make the transition smooth and manageable. To ensure that your practice has open lines of communication, you’ll need to build a communication team. A project manager needs to be established. This person will need to be the resident expert of the system and be able to answer any questions that arise. They’ll also need to have a contact person outside the office who fully understands and has mastered the program. Having many people who have a strong understanding of ICD-10 can only help everyone get onboard with the transition.
There are many ways to prep for ICD-10. The more time you spend preparing for ICD-10 before it is enforced will mean the less time you spend struggling to understand it later on. This is a great advancement for the medical field and can only get better.
What steps is your practice taking to prepare for the upcoming ICD-10 changes?