Sign up for weekly, thought-provoking content on telemedicine news, straight to your inbox.

Why ICD-10 Training Is Critical for the Whole Practice

Posted by Lea Chatham

ICD-10 is probably the biggest change the healthcare industry has faced since the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). It affects any HIPAA-covered entity and increases the current diagnosis codes from about 14,000 to nearly 70,000.

Because this is a coding change, it would be easy to think that the ones who need training are just coders and billers. But this would be a mistake. ICD-10 affects virtually everyone in the practice in some way. It’s important to understand how ICD-10 will affect each role and then plan training accordingly.

Here’s an overview of how ICD-10 affects each role and what to look for in training.

  • Clinical providers

    Need to understand changes to documentation, coding, and EHR. May need some specialty coding training, documentation improvement training, and training on software upgrades. Look to medical society and software vendors. If documentation is a significant problem, consider hiring a documentation improvement specialist to work with the provider. Poor documentation could cause problems with completing accurate claims and might increase denials.

  • Practice manager

    The person is this role may have to update procedures, policies, and forms as well as supporting coders and billers. This person is also likely to be responsible for budgeting and managing the schedules for others who need training. Look to practice management societies for training resources as well as software vendors and payers.

  • Billers and coders

    Billers and coders will likely need the deepest overall knowledge of ICD-10. Those who are certified will need to update certification through a full certification training.

  • Front desk, MAs, nurses, etc.

    To support providers with patient documentation and support billers and coders with pre-authorizations and patient collections, these staff members need a basic knowledge of ICD-10.

Training can range from very basic and free to much more in depth. For most staff a few hours up to a full day training online or in person will be sufficient. These can range from $200 – 500 and often include books. For certified billers and coders training will generally be in person for two to three days and cost up to $2500.

For smaller practices with limited resources, all of these options may not make sense. If you have a front desk person, a biller, and a nurse, choose one person who can get trained —probably the person who needs the most in depth training—and then come back and train the others. If you have a larger staff, it may make sense to send multiple people.

Planning for ICD-10 training should begin as soon as possible. Not only does this give staff members more time to adjust to the new code set, but it also helps to mitigate any productivity losses during the training period. Training can be incremental and staggered so as not to affect daily responsibilities.


Lea Chatham

About Lea Chatham

The eVisit Blog