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Three Questions Every Medical Coder Needs to Ask about ICD-10 Training

The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) is a list of medical classifications used by the World Health Organization (WHO), the delivery of medical care, and medical coders. The ICD contains codes used for the abnormal findings, signs and symptoms, social circumstances, complaints, and external causes of diseases or injury. The code set allows for the tracking of new diagnoses of patients. The ICD recently completed an updated version of those codes, known as ICD-10, and will be enforced in the US come the October 1, 2015 deadline.

Who is affected by the change?

Currently there are about 200,000 medical coders who are active in the field in the United States that must be retrained. There is also a need for almost 40,000 new medical coders as the system is set to expand significantly going forward. These coders are essential for the smooth flow of information among medical professionals, insurance companies, and others involved in patient care.

There is detailed information about study tools, training, and testing for ICD-10 available online for coders who want to upgrade their skills. The World Health Organization offers all the forms and application information through their website. The materials can help guide people to resources including an ICD-10 online browser, downloadable study guide materials, organizations providing ICD-10 training, sites offering ICD-10 online training and training support, and much more.

What should one look for in an ICD-10 Training Program?

There are a large number of coder training options and vendors and choosing the right one is crucial. The following are a few things you should look for in an ICD-10 clinical coding training course.

►Does it offer easy-to-use, interactive, engaging training materials?

Course materials must be designed to quickly capture the student's attention and effectively guide them using a variety of innovative exercises and techniques. This is essential to ensure ICD-10 clinical coding candidates complete, understand, and retain the information in each module of the training course. Their mastery of it is essential to the accuracy and speed with which they can input the codes when they are on the job.

Does it have a variety of training times and options?

The 200,000 medical coders that are currently active have to schedule their training outside of work. Therefore, an ICD-10 training program that does not offer training at different times of the day may not be best suited for their needs. Furthermore, choosing a program that includes both remote and home-based training enables the candidate to have much more flexibility. This will help to ensure they fulfill their responsibilities while completing the course in a timely manner.

Does it refresh and build on the existing knowledge base?

Many professionals who aren't medicals coders will also need to update their coding knowledge base. That includes CDI specialists, doctors, medical facility and physicians' office staff, and insurance company personnel. The training should include comprehensive refresher courses and also the opportunity for advanced training for experienced coders. Additionally, there must be competency reviews and final training tests. These help both experienced and inexperienced coders identify areas where further study is required.  


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