Skagit Valley Hospital Educates Physicians on Documentation Changes & ICD-10 with the HealthcareSource eLearning Library

By October 1, 2015, any organization covered by HIPAA is required to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets, which boosts the number of codes nearly tenfold. These codes are critical for reporting medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures. But the new codes are just half of the story: physicians and other clinicians also need to change the way they document patient care to include more detail. Like many other organizations needing to comply with ICD-10, Skagit Valley Hospital sought a way to efficiently educate its physicians on this requirement.

Going with a Familiar and Flexible eLearning Provider

To ensure ICD-10 compliance, Skagit Valley Hospital established a training committee which began seeking eLearning solutions that could help educate its physicians on the documentation changes the new code set would require and their importance for proper coding. According to Liz Wergin, Clinical Education Coordinator for Skagit Valley Hospital, “We need our providers to understand that failure to input the correct codes would have a profound financial impact on our facility and their practices.”

Wergin found that many ICD-10 eLearning offerings were too generic in nature, while others covered many medical specialties but did not offer the flexibility to pick and choose modules. Having used the HealthcareSource NetLearning® LMS for all other mandatory education, the hospital decided to evaluate the many ICD-10 courses available through the HealthcareSource eLearning Library. By taking advantage of HCPro’s ICD-10 Physician Documentation Package, available from HealthcareSource, the hospital could focus on modules customized to fit physician needs. It also chose the ICD-10 Bootcamp program to quickly ramp up coders and those in the business and finance offices.

Enjoying User-Friendly Training

After determining which curricula were appropriate for each provider, Wergin and her team assigned the 350 or so providers to the appropriate HealthcareSource ICD-10 training course. In March 2014, the education department then rolled out an ICD-10 campaign pointing providers to an internal web page with information about the code change and instructions for completing the training. Because physicians are often resistant to taking time out of their busy schedules to complete required education, it can be challenging to successfully get them trained. For that reason, the hospital’s ICD-10 training committee appreciates that the eLearning Library courses they selected are user-friendly.

Plus, once physicians complete the training, they can go back into the NetLearning LMS at any time for a refresher. After completing the ICD-10 training module, one leader on the hospital’s medical staff said, “Thank you. Now I understand why ICD-10 is so important.”

Ensuring a Full Understanding of the Importance of ICD-10

Shortly after Skagit Valley Hospital launched its ICD-10 training initiative, the federal government announced that implementation of the new requirement was postponed until October 2015. “We are using the extra time to ensure everyone is thoroughly trained. Hand in hand with that, we will be undertaking dual coding so we can pinpoint which providers are documenting the codes correctly and which ones need further training,” explains Wergin.

The training committee has assigned the HealthcareSource ICD-10 Bootcamp courses to another 50 employees, including coders, employees in the business office, and to those in the Health Information Management department. At the same time, the organization’s clinical documentation specialists who are well versed in ICD-10 are attending meetings of the medical staff. During that time, they highlight coding changes between the two classification lists and how to appropriately code based on each provider’s dictation.

Avoiding Losses in Productivity and Reimbursement

According to Wergin, by using eLearning as the mechanism for delivering ICD-10 education, the hospital is well positioned to avoid delays in payment for services rendered. Though the hospital must address numerous healthcare initiatives that affect practitioners, as Wergin says, “This could cost us millions of dollars if we don’t get it right. By training our providers on how to document completely, we can ensure our clinical documentation specialists and billers efficiently and accurately code patient activity. That means we won’t lose time or money once the ICD-10 requirement goes into effect,” she concludes.

Skagit Valley Hospital

  • Efficiently educating staff on documentation and coding changes
  • Ensuring the physicians understood the importance of documenting with more detail
  • Needed a flexible and user-friendly eLearning program that was not too generic
  • Physicians recognize the value of improved documentation
  • Education customized to physicians' specialties
  • Opportunity to dual code and provide additional training to providers in need of more assistance
  • Strongly positioned to avoid delays in payment for services rendered, saving the organization time and money


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