“Has been” is the perfect definition for the ICD-9 patient health definitions and descriptions used by U.S. practitioners for years. Now ICD-10 codes are used in many countries, with the U.S. lagging behind in the transition. Training and Education may be the answer to meeting the Oct. 1, 2013 compliance deadline.

It is imperative that the U.S. health industry accepts the ICD-10 before there is a data meltdown among the world health providers. So, where is the U.S. health system in its adoption of the new coding?

According to a 2011 fall study by KLAS research firm, of 163 health care provider respondents:
•    8 % said they had not started preparing for ICD-10 compliance
•    60% have concerns that their clinical and/or financial systems vendor won’t be ICD-10 ready; and
•    65% are working or plan to work with third party firms on their ICD-10 transition effort

Learned conjecture is that the U.S. healthcare system is slow embracing the ICD-10 because of cost, their aging information technology infrastructure, delayed payments during the transition between ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes and difficulty learning the new codes which often overlap the older ICD-9 definitions. One survey also mentions too many other requirements, such as meaningful use, mandated by the federal government are taking time away from the ICD transformation.

Those issues are, of course, important, but so is timely compliance. Industry leaders continue to point out the compelling reasons for U.S. practitioners to embrace ICD 10. A mid-January 2012 letter from the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology Chair of Patient Safety cites that of all the paid malpractice claims in 2009, most fall into three categories: “poor communication; poor documentation; and problems associated with diagnosis and treatment of a patient.”

This all ties in with the ICD-10 adoption. ICD-10 is designed to document and communicate through standard coding. Sure there are nearly twice as many codes than were in the ICD-9, but each new code provides more detailed documentation.

The solution to a higher adoption rate may be in education and training.  So where can affordable training be found? Here are a few suggestions.

World Health Organization offers training for free at http://apps.who.int/classifications/apps/icd/icd10training/. This is a self-paced course.

The American Health Information Management Association offers a variety of free and commercial training manuals and e-seminars. The member’s discounted price seems to be the best value. Membership is currently $165, but the number of training titles offered is substantial.

3M Health Information Systems offers a 22-module course that they tout as being customer fit to staff members’ job responsibilities. However, as most corporate marketing programs go, the 3M company does not publish an easily accessible price on their Web site for these courses.

The AAPC, formerly the American Academy of Professional Coders, offers training opportunities, too. They have both coder and physician training available in a step-by-step program. Their site features a cute days, hours, minutes and seconds countdown to the Oct. 1, 2013 date. Membership can be as low as $75.

The Internet has many more under the heading “ICD-10 training” or “ICD-10 education.”