Six Tips for ICD-10-CM Coding Success

QIRT is always proud of our top-notch quality staff, but this set of helpful ICD-10-CM coding tips gave us another reason. Congratulations to three Quality Team members who were quoted in a recent Diagnosis Coding Pro newsletter, published by DecisionHealth.

Thanks to QIRT quality professionals Sherri Parson, Garland Broussard, and Michelle Horner, here are six tips to help you achieve and maintain real-world home health coding success:

  1. Practice, practice, practice and realize that efficiency comes over time and through repetition. You won’t be as proficient as a veteran coder right away,” Broussard says.
  2. Focus on accuracy before worrying about your speed. “It’s better to take 10 minutes longer to get through the record than to just spit it out and spit it out wrong,” Broussard says. “Speed is not much use to us if the coding isn’t accurate,” affirms Parson.
  3. Be teachable and open-minded. Some coders make mistakes and it doesn’t have much impact on their future work while others make mistakes and resolve to never do so again. It’s the latter type, those who are open to new information, who are always learning, who succeed,” Horner says.
  4. Get a mentor. “Find someone with experience who you can call with difficult coding questions instead of just guessing,” says Horner, who mentors coders herself.
  5. Learn how to search the alphabetic index efficiently. For example, you’ll save time when searching for a pressure ulcer code by searching first under “ulcer” and then “pressure.” If you go to “pressure” first, the index will just send you to “ulcer” anyway, costing you a step. “You can get lost in a wormhole searching for codes if you don’t know what parameters to search under,” Broussard says.
  6. Focus on the scope of your duties and ignore what you can’t change. “Some coders can get bogged down trying to fix typos or correct a nurse’s charting methods and as a result will take two hours to get through a record that should take 30 minutes,” Horner says. Instead, limit your focus seeking out diagnostic information and assigning codes. “It’s not your job to fix every single, solitary thing,” she says.

The QIRT Quality Team prides itself on updated education on coding and OASIS changes and regulations. OASIS-C2 changes are effective January 1, 2018. Updated OASIS-C2 courses and the entire series is available with QIRT web-based training at Online education modules and pre-recorded webinars provide flexibility for home health agencies and staff. Increase compliance and efficiency with access to home health compliance training, ICD-10 coding, OASIS and more from your laptop, tablet or smartphone.

This list originally appeared in DecisionHealth’s Diagnosis Coding Pro for Home Health newsletter. To learn more about the newsletter and related products, visit

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