4 Ways ICD-10 Changed Nursing Advanced Certification

Beth Dumbauld

By Eric Hoover

Over the next year, several changes large and small will update the current ICD guidelines. These will affect the way advanced nursing certification courses are taught, and those working in the medical field will have to adjust to the ever-evolving landscape of medical coding.

As a refresher, the International Classification of Diseases (also known as ICD) is a common framework and language used to compile, report, and compare health information from pregnancy to death from illness worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) periodically revises ICD coding to reflect current medical understanding of disease. Medical professionals should now be using the ICD-10 coding, which changed drastically from ICD-9. Officially, the start date for ICD-10 is October 1, 2014 for all HIPAA entities.

1. Changing for more robust coding.

Those entering the medical field after achieving their nursing advanced certification will have to learn a whole new set of codes and procedures, as the ones used for reporting under ICD-9 are now obsolete in the United States. This occurred because the old system did not have enough capacity to incorporate new codes. All other countries are currently using ICD-10, which helps track major global epidemics. Those in the nursing field will have to adapt to ICD-10.

2. Learning new codes and new diagnosis.

Nursing students will have a little bit of a jumpstart over those who are currently in the field when it comes to learning new diagnosis codes under ICD-10. They will also have to understand more in-depth knowledge of a disease, in order to help with patient treatment and support, as well as for assisting physicians.

3. Nurses and Billing Specialists should update software.

There’s a good chance the software you know how to use will need to be updated, perhaps completely overhauled. Speak to a supervisor (or professor, if you are still in school for nursing certifications or degrees) about how this new system will differ, as the ICD-10 codes are up to seven alphanumeric characters. More extensive coding training for those in billing will be required.

4. The more you know.

Nurses and healthcare professionals will have to understand up to 68,000 codes as part of ICD-10. New terminology will also have to be memorized and made consistent throughout the code set. Since the codes combine diagnoses, symptoms, and treatment, fewer codes will need to be reported to describe a condition, but the information still needs to be on record for caregivers and medical professionals to reference.

These drastic changes in the way medical coding is tracked should not turn anyone off if they are currently pursuing a nursing certification. In fact, now is the time to hit the books and learn how this updated system will change your duties before they go into full effect next year. These types of rapid advancements must be expected in a field as important as medicine. Learning to grow along with coworkers or fellow students will help you advance in a flourishing career.
This post was provided by Eric Hoover on behalf of Drexel University Online. Eric is a content strategist and blogger with a background in advertising and education journalism. He has also written ad copy for agencies throughout Vermont, New York City and Philadelphia.

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