Health Information Management

Ready your CDI staff for ICD-10 implementation

HIM-HIPAA Insider, November 2, 2010

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Three years. That’s how long you have to prepare for the implementation of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10). If you are among those who think there is still plenty of time to prepare, or if you think CDI specialists already understand as much as they need to about the shift, think again.

Beginning now, CDI specialists “need to be aware of the key components of ICD-10,” says Gloryanne Bryant, RHIA, RHIT, CCS, CCDS, regional managing director of HIM at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and Hospitals, in Oakland, CA.
No one’s saying that every CDI specialist in the nation needs full-immersion ICD-10 training, “but now is not too early” to start reviewing the draft ICD-10 coding guidelines, going over CDI metrics, and raising awareness about documentation needs associated with ICD-10, says Kathy DeVault, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, manager of professional practice resources at AHIMA in Chicago. “In my opinion, CDI staff are going to be near the top in terms of [ICD-10] training needs.”
Start by completing a staff assessment. AHIMA suggests that coding staff need additional training in four areas:
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Disease processes
  • Medical terminology
Many HIM directors have begun to conduct assessments of their staff in these main areas. Such assessments help identify training target areas and allow directors to provide specific help to support staff who need it. However, some suggest CDI specialists need no preparation in these areas since many come from clinical backgrounds. Bryant and DeVault caution against this thinking.
“Just as coder proficiency can differ from staff member to staff member, the same can be said for CDI specialists,” says Bryant.
Those with nursing backgrounds may have worked in documentation improvement for a number of years and “may benefit from a refresher course,” says DeVault. “You just don’t want to make any erroneous assumptions about what staff may or may not know.”
Further, many CDI programs incorporate a mix of staffing backgrounds. Team training with both nurses and coders in the room can help build camaraderie and program cohesiveness, DeVault says. “It will help ensure that everyone in the program is on the same page.”
Editor’s note: This excerpt is from the October featured article on the HCPro Association of Documentation Improvement Specialists (ACDIS) website. Click here to read more.

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