What About the Coders?
There has been much written and discussed about the impact of ICD-10 on health care providers, payers and the entire revenue cycle management process. What about the impact on the people actually performing the function – the coders? As their roles are reengineered through the transition to ICD-10, coders must commit to embracing this change, learn the new ICD-10 coding scheme, and increase their medical knowledge to adjust to the increased coding complexity.
As the ICD-10 deadline approaches, there will likely be more pressure placed on medical coders to help keep productivity levels high, while helping transition to the new ICD-10 supporting business processes. If coders are going to succeed during this phase, they will need support from their health care facility in regards to structured training opportunities and interim coding staffing support.
ICD-10 codes are more specific, so most coders will need to improve their knowledge of anatomy, physiology and medical terminology, and use this knowledge to assign the correct code. They will also need to learn how to effectively use new technologies such as computer-assisted coding (CAC).
In the past decade, in medical transcription field, the use of speech recognition has become more common. Some transcriptionists did not adapt well to the changing technology and work processes and found themselves looking for new work! Will the same effect be seen among medical coders?
In speaking with members of the coding staff at Diskriter, coders see ICD-10 not as a threat but rather as a career opportunity. As one coder commented, “With the training I am receiving at Diskriter, I now have an opportunity to gain new knowledge and increase my professional skills. I have more awareness that as coders we are a very important part of the revenue cycle process.”