Health Information Management

Tip: Use free resources to help you start your ICD-10 preparation efforts

CDI Strategies, April 28, 2011

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By Donald A. Butler, RN, BSN

The more I learn about ICD-10, the more worried I get. At this point my worries are more related to knowing enough to be dangerous but not knowing nearly enough to truly understand or feel confident about our CDI program’s preparation efforts. Two recent ACDIS polls touched on feelings about ICD-10 (What are your initial impressions of ICD-10? and What is your planned primary method/vehicle for ICD-10 training?).
The conversion to ICD-10 is going to happen on October 1, 2013.  There seems to be two opposing trains of thought about this implementation deadline:
  1. We have plenty of time.
  2. We are directly on top of this deadline and had better get our plans together.
In one sense, education of CDI specialists during the first six months of 2013 would (or should) be enough to prepare for individuals to complete their daily jobs. If CDI staff receive training on ICD-10 codes too far in advance then they will require an intensive refresher shortly before the conversion. However, if we wait too long we take a risk that all of the best training resources are fully committed and are unable to meet our facility needs.
A number of other potential problems need to be considered also. Where will your facility find the additional funds for training its CDI staff, for example? You’d need to know when training budgets are proposed and align the various learning objectives to your training expectations. And, of course, you’ll have to get that ICD-10 training budget approved. If you ask for funds too early, you risk being denied by your CFO.
Consider whether or not you’ll use in-house expertise for additional staff training. If so, expect to extend your training schedule further. It will take additional time to train a single individual on the various important aspects of ICD-10 and still more time for that individual to focus their training to your facility and various staffing needs.
Planning for your CDI program’s ICD-10 training needs really does need to start now but don’t worry, there are a number of resources I’ve found that seem exceedingly helpful. These include the following:
  1. 3M. As a significant vendor of all things related to inpatient coding, 3M also offers a number of free ICD-10 preparation tools including:
    1. A nice 14 page PowerPoint pdf
    2. An ICD-10 Blog
    3. A free coder forum webinar series
  2. AHIMA. Of course one would expect that AHIMA would be a premiere resource for all things related to this important transformation. The Association offers an e-newsletter, a resources page, and it even offers suggested tasks for inpatient coders.
  3. AMA. The American Medical Association offers a crash course of basics that CDI professionals might look to for help with training their own physicians. This site contains a number of links to helpful information also.
  4. Becker's Hospital Review. Offers an article on 10 steps to prepare for ICD-10.
  5. CDC. This is where you can find the most direct information regarding changes to the proposed ICD-10 coding guidelines and updates to the codes themselves.
  6. CMS. CMS offers its overview of ICD-10 including detailed information on the procedural coding system, otherwise known as PCS.
  7. HCPro’s ICD-10 Trainer Blog. This includes several posts by Christina Benjamin regarding low-cost resources for ICD-10 education and a roundup of additional ICD-10 resources.
  8. The Milestone Group. Offers a white paper “5 Steps for a successful transition.”
There are a number of additional training options which range from more formal classroom programs to individualized educational offerings from consulting services, but I wanted to highlight some starting points that are free and easily available.
Editor’s Note: Butler earned the 2011 CDI Professional of the Year Award. He is the Clinical Documentation Improvement Manager at Pitt County Memorial Hospital, in Greenville, NC. Contact him at dbutler@PCMH.COM.

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