The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed the ICD-10 codes to document illnesses and conditions and replace the outdated ICD-9 system. Implementing the ICD-10 system will affect every part of your office, including your medical billing services. Following are a few tips of what your office should do in preparation of the changes:
- Give yourself time. Switching over to the new code system will not happen overnight.
- Realize there will be important clerical changes. In the first place, the ICD-10 comes in three volumes rather than the two volumes your staff is used to. Chapters have been rearranged, some titles have changed, and several conditions have been regrouped. Also, codes will be alphanumeric rather than just numeric. There are almost twice as many categories in ICD-10 than there were in ICD-9. Your office will have much learning to do.
- Appoint trainers. Every part of a medical office will be affected by the changes. Appoint a key person in each department (medical billing services, coding department, registration, etc) who will train the rest of the staff.
- Get feedback from others. Talk to colleagues whose offices have already undergone the implementation and learn from their experiences.
- Review the section on the AHIMA website dedicated to the ICD-10implementation. This website provides training and resources, both free and for purchase, that you will find useful prior to your transition into the new system.
- Take advantage of the training tool and varied resources provided by the WHO and posted online here.
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