All Posts in Category: ICD

ICD-10 Changes Are Coming: What You Can Do to Be Prepared

ICD-10 ChangesThe 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.

Train Now

            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?

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What Is ICD-10?

What Is ICD-10?

ICD-10 is the tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases, or ICD. The ICD is the standard diagnostic tool for health management, clinical and epidemiological purposes, and it is used by doctors, nurses, policy makers, researchers and other health care experts to classify diseases and other health issues. It’s also used to monitor the general health situation of population groups.

The ICD-10 was endorsed by the 43rd World Health Assembly in 1990, and it has been in use in World Health Organization states since 1994. Despite this long history, the ICD-10 is still being updated through an ongoing revision process. Transition to the latest version of ICD-10 is required for everyone covered by the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act, or HIPAA. The release date of ICD-11 is scheduled for 2017.

Differences Between ICD-9 and ICD-10

The biggest differences between ICD-9 and ICD-10 is in the diagnosis code set. Where ICD-9 had five positions in its code set, ICD-10 has been expanded to include seven positions. The number of diagnostic codes has also been increased from 13,000 codes in ICD-9 to 68,000 codes in ICD-10. These updated codes are far more accurate than they’ve been in the past and allow for more specific reporting and diagnosis.

The problem with companies that still need to make the transition to ICD-10 from ICD-9 is that there is no clear mapping between the two. There are some codes in one system that corresponds to others, but for the most part any organization that needs to upgrade to using ICD-10 will need to do so almost from scratch.

Why the Change Needs to be Made

The medical field is changing drastically all the time. New disorders and diseases are being discovered, new treatments are being developed and new medical devices have been put into use. The changes made in just the last 25 years have been incredible, and things will continue to change more quickly than ever before. The ICD-9 system was not designed to keep up with that kind of progress, so a newer system such as ICD-10 needs to be put into place.

However, staying HIPAA compliant and upgrading to ICD-10 isn’t enough. As we said before, ICD-10 is constantly under revision, and that means that organizations that use it have to keep it updated. That has become easier now that ICD-10 is available online, but it still takes a lot of work to stay up to date.

We at Medical Healthcare Solutions know how important it is that any organization covered by HIPAA has the latest version of ICD-10. We do our best to stay on top of all forms of medical coding even as they are constantly changing, and we always do what we can to be aware of changes and updates before they are made. We also do our best to remain HIPAA compliant in every way, and we can help other organizations do the same. If you would like to know more about how we keep ICD-10 properly updated and implemented, contact us today or visit us online.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Medical Healthcare Solutions can prepare your practice for the upcoming ICD-10 changes please contact us at 1-800-762-9800 or by filling out this form.


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