The medical coding industry is in for a major upheaval: after many delays, the ICD-10 coding system is set to roll out October 1. Are you ready? What does this transition mean for your medical billing and coding career? Here are some ideas—and reminders!—to help current and aspiring medical coding professionals prepare for the big change.
What’s changing and why?
While most industrialized countries moved to ICD-10 years ago, the U.S. is still using ICD-9—a 35 year-old system. To keep up with today’s medical knowledge and improve world health communication, we need to transition to the updated system as soon as possible.
The new ICD-10 coding system reflects the medical advancements of our day. It has 155,000 codes, as opposed to ICD-9’s 14,000, and gives the option of creating new codes and using combination codes. The changes are aimed at enhancing medical documentation standards and communication as well as improving the quality and efficiency of patient care.
Coders, are you ready?
Transitioning to the new ICD-10 system will be no small feat, so be sure you are preparing now. Since ICD-10 is more specific, current coders need to brush up on your clinical knowledge and consider taking a refresher course in anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology. Most importantly, right now, whether you’re an experienced coder or a new graduate you need to know both ICD-9 and ICD-10 coding systems (since we’re currently still using ICD-9 but need to be prepared for ICD-10). You need to act now because it can take months to become trained and proficient in a new system. If you are an inpatient coder, your training may take even longer since you need to learn the new procedure codes as well as diagnoses codes.
Procrastinated training? Don’t be dismayed—you can still catch up! If you are behind in your preparation, enroll in an online ICD-10 training program such as Career Step’s ICD-10 for ICD-9 Coders. This will allow you to continue working as you train and give you the flexibility of completing the course quickly in your spare time. If you are a student or prospective student, make sure your current training covers both the ICD-9 and ICD-10 coding systems. It will be important to be proficient in both systems during the transition.
ICD-10 is the future of medical coding, and you need to be ready for the change. The clock is ticking! Make sure you have the medical coding training you need to remain successful in this in-demand industry.