The word change does not tend to conjure up a warm feeling. In fact, it can produce many uncomfortable feelings such as uncertainty, self-doubt, perplexity and hesitancy, and sometimes even panic. The words tweak, alter, and modification do not have quite the same impact, but they all have the same meaning; an adjustment or maybe a transformation. Circumstances change every day and I believe that most people do not give themselves enough credit for moving through these changes. It is important to realize that we all have the ability to overcome these harsh feelings when a change occurs and embrace it. After all, the feeling of conquering an obstacle is empowering.
Medical coding changes occur because of new technology, changes to procedures, higher regard for quality of care, better clinical decision making, and the quest to perform research when answers are not readily available. Change in medical coding brings about clarity, ease of use, and improved control. I have not met one medical coder who is not excited about the change to ICD-10. We are embracing this transformation because everything about it just makes sense. The rules and guidelines in ICD-10 leave little room for any gray areas which plague ICD-9. These gray areas are caused by the whole medical industry changing and growing. As a nation, we have outgrown ICD-9.
Doctors receive an inordinate amount of education, more nurses are earning Bachelor’s degrees, and more technicians are required to be certified. Growth and change is exciting. This perspective needs to be applied to the transformation to ICD-10.
Currently, there is no answer as to whether the conversion to ICD-10 is going to be delayed to Octorber 1, 2014. Delayed or not, change is inevitable. Prepare yourself with the education it takes to keep moving forward.