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....

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