Advice to Medical Coders: 'If you get ahead of the curve now, it should be a much easier transition'

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale

Last week I talked about the challenges that medical coders face as they prepare for ICD10 implementation. Then I asked George Eleftheriades, chief technological officer of MD On-Line, what advice he had for medical coders.

George Elfetheriades"What they have to do first and foremost is become familiar with the ICD-10 set itself," said Eleftheriades. "And the best way to do that really is take a look at the individual practice, even though there are over 60,000 codes. When you look at most practices, they deal with but a few hundred diagnosis and procedure codes."

In other words, you're not going to have to know all those codes. You can figure out now where you're going to have issues.

"If you get ahead of the curve now, it should be a much easier transition," said Eleftheriades. "Start now and remain focused on what's really important to your practice and then think about what's important on the ICD-10 side"

And getting ahead of the curve is going to bring benefits.

"Ultimately, the success of ICD-10 will rely heavily on the users," wrote Mandy Willis, an ICD-10 expert with Group Health Cooperative, Seattle. She responded to the question "What are long-term prospects to coders?"

"So, if those who are dedicated to sticking it out and seeing this through can become expert users with an eye on the quality of the information and in turn create other expert users with the same commitment to excellence, there will be opportunities abound," wrote said.

[ Poll: Are you planning to quit the medical coding field?]

"Disruptions often offer opportunities for those who are willing to accept the challenge," wrote Scott Lucado, learning and development consultant at Affiliated Computer Services in Texas. "If coders are willing to make the effort to really know their stuff, the sky will be the limit."