Tuesday, October 4, 2011

ICD-11 is Coming...

That was a key message this morning in a presentation by Dr. T.B. Ustun from the World Health Organization (WHO) at the AHIMA convention general session. Yes we are still on track for implementing ICD-10 in the US on October 1, 2013 (just under 2 years for those of you keeping score at home) but while the US works to catch up with the rest of the industrialized countries who have been using ICD-10 for several years, the WHO is already looking at ICD-11. Does that worry you as a current or future coding professional?

I know a few current students are concerned about learning ICD-9 in school and then trying to get a position as a coder using ICD-10. Should they go ahead and start working now using ICD-9 or wait until 2013 and use ICD-10? Well, from my perspective, the critical thinking skills that make a coder a good coder will not change even though the codes themselves do. And yes, ICD-10 - especially from the procedure perspective (ICD-10-PCS) requires more anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and procedural knowledge but you can learn that over the next couple of years as you code in ICD-9-CM. Plus, most employers have plans for training their workforce and getting a coding position now gives you a starting point for learning ICD-10.

So go ahead and go for that open coding position now. Do whatever you can to position yourself for the transition and get ready for a career of continuing education. Not only will you need to book continuing education units to maintain any coding credentials you have, the codes change at least annually, so change is constant. And be ready to adopt ICD-11....

Monday, October 3, 2011

From the Green Room at AHIMA

Today is a big day as the AHIMA conference General Session kicks off. At the moment, I'm hanging out in the green room backstage with the Triumph Award recipients. I am very honored this year to have been awarded one of the Triumph Awards for mentoring for my work with the Coder Coach. This is a new experience for me - to be backstage and a part of the presentation. And I'm very excited to have one of my mentors (and favorite people in general) with me to celebrate - my mother, who is also a retired RHIT. I will post more pictures later, but here's a super secret green room photo!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Networking at the AHIMA Student Academy

Today I spent a couple of hours at the AHIMA Student Academy as a mentor for their lightning rounds. AHIMA's Student Academy is a one day free event for students in AHIMA based programs. Several mentors including myself were asked to spend time giving advice on certification, career planning, volunteering, and networking - you know, a lot of the things I blog about through the Coder Coach!

It was great to network with the future of our profession and see so many people excited about their future careers.

So here's a little recap from the mentors' advice to students today:
-Follow your bliss - if a particular area interests you, pursue it, even if the pay isn't great. If you go for a job that you're passionate about, the money will follow.
-Certification is a must if you want to be taken seriously and want to excel.
-Network, network, network. Communicating and networking with current pros is key.
-Volunteer. You would be amazed at the doors that will open for you when you volunteer either with coding/HIM departments or with your local coding/HIM associations.
-Stay positive and avoid being defensive. People pick up on attitude quickly. If you are looking for a job and have been for a long time it's easy to let bitterness creep into your conversations. So be careful to keep positive and hopeful.

More from AHIMA in Salt Lake City coming soon!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Live from AHIMA Salt Lake City!

Today marks the first day of AHIMA's Coding Community meeting, which kicks off the annual convention. This year we're meeting in Salt Lake City and as usual, I am like a little kid in a candy store here. Every year AHIMA is a bigger deal to me since it's a chance to reconnect with former coworkers and meet new professional contacts. And since this year my focus is heavily on workforce development, I thought it would be fun to send out reports from my experiences through my blog and maybe you can join me at AHIMA next year.

So here goes...

This afternoon I will be presenting on coding and charging in the cardiac cath lab and I'm sure my audience will find it the best presentation at this conference (tongue in cheek!). But for me, my favorite presentation happened this morning with the national coding update. Every year we have the coding gurus from AHIMA, the American Hospital Association and the AMA talking about upcoming coding changes for ICD-9-CM and CPT. I love getting that firsthand information and feel a little like I'm getting some super secret information - along with the other 500 people in the room.

More for SLC as the conference progresses... Stay tuned!