September 7, 2017

A Student's Guide to ICD 10

By B&SC Blog Team

A Student's Guide to ICD 10

The upcoming transition to ICD-10 is a hot topic in the healthcare community. Learn more about the transition and how Bryant & Stratton is preparing Medical Reimbursement and Coding degree students for this change.

If you’re a student earning an associates degree in medical billing and coding, then you’ve probably heard about a big change on the horizon. The field is abuzz about the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10. ICD stands for International Classification of Disease and is a United Nations-sponsored World Health Organization standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology, health management and clinical purposes.

This guide sets the standard for how professional medical coders assign alphanumeric code(s) to a patient’s record. ICD-10 refers to two classifications, International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) and International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-PCS). ICD-10-CM will replace ICD-9-CM volumes 1 and 2 and be used to report diagnoses in all clinical settings. The other update, ICD-10-PCS, is the procedure code group that is for inpatient hospital procedures and will replace ICD-9-CM Volume 3.

The ICD-10 implementation may hit seasoned professionals harder than individuals who are just entering the field. The codes for diagnoses and procedures are both changing with the new system, so professionals who have memorized codes may find themselves referencing guidelines more often than they are accustomed to now. Chris Schenk is a certified ICD-10 trainer and has already trained many people on the new guidelines.

“People think it’s a big scary monster,” said Mr. Schenk. “But, if you can read guidelines, look up words, correlate information, you can do ICD-10.”

Today, the U.S. is one of the last countries of its economic size to still be using ICD-9, guidelines that were created over 30 years ago. Because ICD-9 was developed so long ago, it does not reflect current medical technology and intelligence, which limits how many details can be included in a record. ICD-10 increases this ability to allow for the capture of more specific diagnoses. In the new guidelines there will be approximately 70,000 codes, an increase from the 15,000 codes in ICD-9. ICD-10 also has the ability to accommodate future changes in medical technology or know-how, making it adaptable for future needs.

The ICD-10 transition date has recently been extended and will not take effect until December 31, 2015. Still, Mr. Schenk and many professional medical and coding associations encourage individuals to learn ICD-10 ahead of the new implementation. Mr. Schenk’s advice is simple.

“Get educated and read the new guidelines,” he said.

For new coders, he suggests verifying that degree programs include a background in anatomy, physiology and medical terminology before enrolling in them. Bryant & Stratton College’s associate’s degree in medical reimbursement and coding is currently teaching ICD-10 to all newly enrolled students so graduates are prepared for the upcoming transition.

If you are interested in learning more about the degrees Bryant & Stratton offers in the medical field, particularly an associate’s degree in medical billing and coding, call 1.888.447.3528 to speak with an admissions representative.

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