Health Information Management

Keep physician education about ICD-10 short and relevant to them

APCs Insider, June 21, 2013

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By Michelle A. Leppert, CPC

Approximately half of the providers seeing patients have no idea about what ICD-10 is and why the US is moving to the new coding system, according to Stephen Spain, MD, CPC. Spain is a sole practitioner in Tyler, Texas, who also codes his own records. Of the ones who know about the switch, very few actually understand how it will affect them.
Providers have a lot of different perspectives on ICD-10, in part because they have very poorly conceived ideas about the new coding system. In addition, everyone is in a different practice environment—solo practice, group practice, large or small hospital, and so on.
That leaves organizations fighting an uphill battle for engaging physicians in the transition. Instead of looking for a one-size-fits-all model, consider the specifics of the physicians you are trying to engage.
The impact of ICD-10 will vary by specialty. Orthopedic and emergency medicine physicians will face many changes, while radiology and family practice physicians will see a small impact.
Make training and education relevant and useful to them. Start by explaining why the new codes are coming in a quick, high-level overview. Physicians don’t need the nitty gritty code changes or logic behind the coding guidelines.
Tell them why they should care—better records, better patient care, more accurate reimbursement.
Show them how it will affect them. Patient care won’t change, but documentation requirements will. Physicians need to include more specific details in their documentation and in some cases will need to document things they haven’t in the past.
Focus on what matters to them. Don’t spend time talking about asthma with orthopedists.
Keep it short and simple. Physicians, like coders, are busy people. And people tend to have short attention spans when they’re listening to something they don’t think matters to them. Ask for 10 minutes during a staff meeting to provide some quick information, then build on that information for five minutes at the next staff meeting.

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