Have you heard people say that all coders need to take an anatomy and physiology course to be able to code in ICD-10-CM or PCS? Think twice before signing up for a full college course or even buying the thickest anatomy book you can find. Try using the personal improvement approach instead.
Do a self-assessment of your skills and fine tune based on what you really need to know. Start by looking at the coding systems themselves. They are available in the Code Books section of the Coding Suite. For the ICD-10-CM diagnosis coding system, it’s more about the disease pathology than the anatomy. Knowledge enhancement for CM should include understanding the disease process of the major chronic diseases. Review the 2011 Coding Guidelines for ICD-10-CM to become familiar with new combination codes for some diseases. Review which symptoms are integral to the disease to be sure you’re not over-coding. Use the internet to learn about a subject when you need it. One great source is the Medline Plus database at the National Library of Medicine at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/. Use the search box to research almost any disease. Another great source is online Merck Manual at http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/index.html. Use the alphabetic index to look up diseases. The Merck Online Medical Library organizes diseases using similar headings for each entry. Quickly scan to the “Symptoms” heading to review the symptoms integral to the disease you’re studying or when a coding question comes up.
For ICD-10-PCS, scan the tables in each body system in the Medical and Surgical section. Research any body part value when you’re unsure of its identity or location. Pay particular attention to the nerves, arteries and veins, muscles, bones and joints. Gray’s Anatomy is online athttp://education.yahoo.com/reference/gray/. If games help you learn, try the University of Michigan Medical School site athttp://anatomy.med.umich.edu/. There are anatomy games among the 100’s of study resources available through that page. Auditory learners should consider searching for educational videos on YouTube, such as this one on the muscular system, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5MyCwatq6E.
Once you’ve reviewed and mastered the body parts available for each body system, go on to review the definitions of the root operations used in ICD-10-PCS. The definitions used within the new system start on page 1068 of the 2011 electronic version. Application is the easiest way to learn how these work. Try coding some of your current records with ICD-10-CM and PCS using the code books in the Coding Suite to see first-hand how the systems work. Concentration on the areas that seem the most difficult and you’ll be a pro in no time.