ICD-10 Physician Education and Training

ICD-10 Physician Training

All physician groups will be affected by ICD-10. While the transition is considered by some to be an onerous distraction in the face of other healthcare reform changes, the conversion from ICD-9 to ICD-10 aligns very well with the objectives of healthcare reform–improving the quality of care and decreasing costs–and will present opportunities for tremendous benefits.

The new levels of specificity, detailed data, and improved information work flows brought by ICD-10 will make it possible to more accurately quantify patient encounters, enhance clinical and financial workflows, and improve physician compensation, reimbursement, and quality scores.


The Need for ICD-10 Physician Training

Physicians are an essential link in the process of recording diagnoses data for ordering medical services, proper coding, timely payment, and accurate quality reports.

The financial, operational, and clinical risks of not engaging physicians in ICD-10 training are significant. Healthcare executives recognize that changes in physician behavior, as well as training, are essential to a successful conversion to ICD-10.

Incomplete documentation by the physician can:

  • Negatively impact the quality of care
  • Produce inaccurate quality report data
  • Delay scheduling and registration
  • Increase physician queries
  • Result in denials
  • Lengthen revenue cycles
  • Cause reimbursements delays
A Paradigm Shift

Physicians must incorporate ICD-10-CM codes into their daily clinical work flow. Therefore, training must detail the specifics needed for clinical documentation–this is a paradigm shift from a patient care focus.

Training and education for physicians must:

  • Clearly communicate that ICD-10 specificity has the potential to improve care, the quality of reporting, and revenue whereas lack of education carries significant risks including increase queries, delayed payment, poor quality reports, and less than optimal quality of care
  • Recognize that each specialty's training will be different
  • Include the creation and adherence to a plan
  • Dispel misconceptions that training is time-consuming and cumbersome
  • Follow a concise, accessible format that builds upon previous material
  • Deliver overview of new ICD-10-CM concepts and code structures
  • Deliver additional in-depth training in applicable areas using tools and references that enable physicians to understand and apply what is meaningful to their specialties
Career Step ICD-10 Training Modules

Physician Training: Career Step ICD-10-CM Outline

Content Details
Introduction Brief lecture
  • Why change to ICD-10-CM?
  • What it means to the physician? (e.g. contemporary language, specificity, ability to capture severity, less denials)
  • Implementation date
  • Examples of outdated system
  • High-level overview of a classification system
  • Uses and purpose of classification
  • Overview design of ICD-10-CM
Contemporary language Examples of outdated system and new contemporary language, such as:
  • Asthma
  • Mental Discorders
  • Underdosing
Major changes in ICD-10-CM Programs provide a snapshot of the most important changes with short explanations: 7th digit extensions, laterality, severity, fractures, combination codes for disease processes, and specificity. Examples are provided of each.
Impact on physicians Illustrate documentation improvement opportunities with focus on ICD-10-CM changes. Outline physician charge document
Brief overview of ICD-10-PCS Illustrate the potential impact of ICD-10-PCS on documentation for inpatient encounters.
Estimated total time: 20-30 minutes

Specialty: Top Physician Specialties Outline

Content Details
Brief overview of ICD-10-CM Detail ICD-10-CM code layout with new concepts:
  • Contemporary language
  • Specificity
  • Details
ICD-9 vs. ICD-10 comparison Provide tabs with examples of common specialty diagnoses and how the codes compare between ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM. Programs represent each major change by specialty. For example, for Primary Care: Underdosing, 7th digit extensions, severity for asthma, type of epilepsy, etc.
Differences Summary for specialty
Estimated total time: 10-30 minutes per specialty

Download these details as a pdf


ICD-10 Physician Training Benefits

With good planning and well-tailored training, the switch to ICD-10 will improve patient care and directly benefit physicians and physician groups through:

  • More appropriate reimbursement
  • Improved outcome indicators
  • Reduced queries
  • Fewer compliance issues
  • Decreased claim denials
  • Reduced RAC scrutiny
  • More accurate clinical data
  • Advanced disease protocols and clinical pathways
Elements of Effective ICD-10 Training and Preparation

As pioneers in online education and training, Career Step has designed our ICD-10 Physician Training to succinctly and effectively describe the benefits and changes specific to physicians and their specialties that will result from the ICD-10 transition. The training also includes an explanation of the differences between how physicians use ICD-9 and what will be needed for ICD-10. Our goal is to ensure physicians can provide coders documentation with the level of specificity and accuracy required to enable proper coding, minimize physician queries, and facilitate a full realization of the benefits of ICD-10.

To properly prepare for the conversion to ICD-10, Career Step recommends that practices form an ICD-10 project team and designate an internal team leader. The team, its leader, and the creation of a timeline will be instrumental in a successful ICD-10 transition and the avoidance of the potential negative impacts. Career Step will work with you to help your practice:

  • Develop an ICD-10 project plan
  • Create a timeline/schedule
  • Designate an ICD-10 Team Leader to:
    • Assess physician documentation modalities for key areas of risk
    • Review changes in requirements for charts and documentation
    • Review how ICD-9 codes are currently used in your practice
    • Identify the diagnoses coded most frequently
    • Look up frequently coded diagnoses and match them as closely as possible with the new ICD-10 codes using an ICD-10 codebook or software
    • Practice coding in ICD-10 to test documentation and reimbursement impact
    • Establish and communicate protocols for how your practice will enter key words, notes, and content into medical records
    • Communicate ICD-10 code interpretation, selections, and protocol to the rest of the practice
    • Provide ongoing support and guidance
Career Step's Training Format

Career Step's ICD-10 Physician Training prepares physicians to document properly so coders will be able to accurately and efficiently code in ICD-10-CM. We start with the diagnoses and procedures most related to your practice's specialty.

Our ICD-10 Physician Education specialty-based modules are:

  • Self-paced
  • Concise
  • Accessible from anywhere at any time

Our training includes:

  • Online seminars and workshops
  • Online physician education and training modules available by specialty
  • Links to informative industry resources
Career Step's Training Content

Career Step's online training:

  • Discusses why ICD-10 is important to physicians
  • Focuses on basic constructs of ICD-10-CM so that physicians, by the end of training, understand how to the codes apply to any disease
  • Focuses on core ICD-10-CM concepts to improve documentation. Concepts include:
    • Site
    • Specificity
    • Laterality
    • Timing
    • Manifestations
    • Stage
    • Status
    • Drug/alcohol/tobacco dependence

Career Step training clearly describes how the codes that most directly affect you are changing and:

  • Targets risk and high volume areas
  • Addresses gaps in current documentation practices versus documentation required for ICD-10 coding with examples that offer clear comparisons of how documentation will change between the two code sets
  • Focuses on specificity and underlying conditions, which may not specifically apply to your practices' specialty but will ensure physicians can meet ICD-10 demands by documenting underlying conditions with the granularity to avoid queries, denials, and inaccurate quality reporting
  • Uses a variety of methodologies and approaches to facilitate learning and maximize retention of new ICD-10 documentation skills. With this goal in mind, the training is:
    • Modular and role-/specialty-based
    • Online and self-paced
    • Available anytime, anywhere, and in a variety of formats
    • Inclusive of job aids (e.g. printed resources for reference)
    • Considerate of EHR templates and prompts
    • Based on the structure, guidelines, and requirements of ICD-10-CM for physician documentation
    • Inclusive of the top codes in each specialty
    • Separated into logical training segments with core learning modules plus specialty specific modules

Please visit http://corporatetraining.careerstep.com/physician-training for a list of specialty training modules currently available from Career Step. If you do not see your specialty listed, please contact us at 1-888-989-7512. Our subject matter expertise, learning management technology, and course design experience enable us to make additions to our Physician Training curriculum quickly.

To review our Physician Training curriculum outline, please visit:

Other helpful resources:

Download these details as a pdf


ICD-10 Physician Education and Training Modules
Course TitleDiagnoses ProgramProcedures Program
ICD-10: Understanding its Purpose and Value
Behavioral / Mental HealthX
Emergency MedicineXX
Family PracticeX
General SurgeryX
Hospitalists / Internal MedicineXX
Infectious DiseasesX
Pulmonary MedicineX
Thoracic SurgeryX
Vascular SurgeryX

If you do not see your specialty on the curriculum list, please call us at 1-888-989-7512.

Download these details as a pdf