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ICD-10 strategies: Educate everyone, early and often

ICD-10 is the largest mandate in U.S. healthcare history, and it will require diligent, comprehensive actions to be fully prepared for the transition. This is the third post in a four-part series that explores successful strategies in key areas of ICD-10 readiness: general approach, governance, education and standardization of documentation.

When Allscripts conducts an ICD-10 readiness assessment, a major area of review is to evaluate the organization’s educational programs. All too often organizations provide education for just the clinical providers (i.e., physicians, nurse practitioners and coding staff). But in fact, ICD-10 education should extend across the entire organization, be it a hospital, office practice, home health agency or any entity involved in direct patient care.

ICD-10 training for clinical staff has slowed to a halt

With the one-year delay in ICD-10 implementation, nearly every organization I have been working with has openly stated that educational activities came to an abrupt halt.

Now we are less than six months away from the October 1 deadline. Hospitals, clinics and ambulatory practices are looking to evaluate just how ready they are to move to ICD-10 and how best to address critical gaps in education and training.

ICD-10 education is often not viewed as a priority, with the possible exception of nursing. Instead of aligning physician education to high-volume, high-value care, physician training is most often addressed with generic online or brief classroom sessions. As for coders, the vast majority we have spoken with have forgotten large blocks of essential information because they don’t use it in their daily activities (i.e., no dual coding).

For non-clinical staff, ICD-10 training options are even slimmer

Physicians, nurses, coders and billers were the groups that have suffered the most. But other areas clearly need to understand what is needed for ICD-10 – such as Registration, Patient Access, Case Management, and Social Work – and they are no longer being trained in the fundamentals of the new coding system, either.

Any other areas that need to understand how ICD-10 operates have all but been ignored for education. They understand how this will impact not only their work, but it will also negatively affect collections through delays and denials. The effect on patient satisfaction and quality of care can be devastating.

To be successful, every healthcare organization must assess ICD-10 readiness and use the findings to create a meaningful education program. It’s a critical area of responsibility for the governance team. If your organization does not have the resources to assess, analyze, develop and implement ICD-10 education programs, Allscripts can help.

This overlap between governance and education is a critical part of the path to ICD-10 readiness. In our next blog, we will discuss how documentation is the third pillar in constructing an effective ICD-10 readiness program. If done properly, it can contribute to solid financial, clinical and operational outcomes – for ICD-10 and long-term revenue-cycle-management health.

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