How to Weather the Implementation Storm

ICD-10 implementation is still a couple years away, but it’s time to think about the changes that we will face and the strain it will bring to our work environment. Although some still choose not to believe it, everything I have read indicates the change will take place on October 1, 2013.

Coders need to face the fact that the transition from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM will take a toll on our working environment and we need to plan for some stressful times. What can you do to help keep yourself strong and on target?

  • Maintain a positive attitude during the transition

It will be beneficial to your success and well-being to maintain a positive outlook. No one wants to work with someone who has a negative attitude. You can usually find at least one good thing that will result from a change. Find that one thing and embrace it.

  • Communicate

Openly share your knowledge and ideas. Remember, this may require some personal sacrifice and sometimes risk, but it will also increase your credibility and establish yourself as an expert within your organization.

  • Be organized

There will be a lot of moving parts during the transition. Taking good notes and keeping them organized will help you be prepared and understand the “why” behind the the different elements. After attending a meeting, compare your notes with someone else’s. This will ensure that you’ve captured everything and it will discontinue any misunderstandings you may have.

  • Be part of a team

ICD-10-CM will be a huge undertaking and will require employees that can embrace teamwork. Ask to observe an already established team’s meeting, or find a book or a class to research team-building skills. Being an expert on specific subject matter is important to a team. However, it is more important to have the necessary interpersonal skills, accept joint accountability, and work with others toward a common goal.

  • Find time to reward yourself

You should develop a list of things you want to accomplish and reward yourself for each achievement along the way. For example, you may determine that you need to upgrade your knowledge base and decide to take an anatomy class. Treat yourself to your favorite restaurant if you get an “A” on the midterm, or post your grade on the refridgerator.

Change is stressful and at times very difficult. But the change from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM is coming regardless. We can choose to embrace the changes and be prepared for them by focusing on their positive aspects, especially as they relate to our patients and the overall health care delivery system.


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