How can a practice be ready for the big ICD-10 shift? A lot of that has to do with their ability to mobilize and utilize new technology. Preparing for the new ICD-10 system of medical billing and coding has much to do with how a practice might deal with a patient with unclear symptoms. It is important to learn and research as much as possible about the new system before the transition even begins in order to know what to expect. Getting information from a medical practice or from ICD-10 organizations is necessary to ensure compliance. Understanding the risks involved with not keeping up with the latest ICD-10 standards will help to make sure that your group is able to face the challenged head on. All in all, what is most important within trying to move to ICD-10 is planning. Careful deliberate research and purposeful movement toward new goals is essential to building a system that works with the new coding.

What is different about ICD-10?
By far, the most important part of the new coding system is its length. ICD-9 diagnosis codes were between three and five characters, while ID-10 has codes between three and seven. This increases the amount of codes from roughly 14,000 to 69,000, according to Kareo's new white paper hosted at Physician's Practice. The new codes offer greater specificity, including information on laterality, anatomical sites and location, and the ability to combine codes and diagnoses to imply causal or linked relationships. This new system will enable medical billing and coding to have a far greater amount of specificity, which will be good for patients, medical practitioners and insurance companies alike. 

Moving to ICD-10
This new medical coding system will require change from the ground up. Everyone within a practice should be ready to make use of the new codes and procedures in order to provide optimal care to patients. Not only does this include clinical staff like doctors and nurses, but also front desk personnel, accountants and practice managers. Starting training sessions as soon as possible will let everyone stay ahead of the shifts as they come. A coder from the American Academy of Professional Coders might be able to stop in and give a complete training session over just a few days, provided that a practice can find the time. 

Moving to ICD-10 should be considered way to avoid being sued for malpractice. An incorrect coding of a problem that leads to issues down the line for a patient is just as damaging to their health as poorly treating them. Getting training and looking at content in order to provide the best possible service requires digging deep into available materials, but there is a lot of information about this out there. In fact, like malpractice insurance, ICD-10 information exists in abundance. It is just difficult for most clinicians to find time in their day to learn about a new system and still give their patients quality care. 

Ultimately, the challenge for medical professionals in adapting to this new system is making it work for them. There are many ways that the ICD-10 medical billing and coding language gives better results. It all comes down to mastering the new ideas at play with ICD-10. By making sure to adapt the tools given to professionals in the medical community, practices can save money. ICD-10 doesn't have to be scary or difficult – by managing the risk of movement to the new system and spreading it out over time, everyone in a given practice can master the system. A more precise, accurate way of describing patient illnesses can only be a good thing.