Templates can either enhance documentation necessary for coding and data quality, or they can hinder things by restricting options and failing to prompt physicians to document specific information. However, templates cannot be overlooked when it comes to ICD-10. This is particularly true if a hospital relies more heavily on templates to capture structured data. Many hospitals may use templates for certain diagnoses, orders, or visit types and allow physicians to dictate information for everything else.
Regardless of a hospital’s specific use of templates, one point remains clear: the templates must be updated to accommodate the details necessary for ICD-10. At a minimum, these details include laterality, specificity, and etiology. The number of physicians who could be using a specific template at any given time — or even over a short period of time — could be significant. If one template is not updated correctly to accommodate ICD-10, data quality and reimbursement could be compromised.
Health information management (HIM) directors cannot assume that electronic health record (EHR) vendors will handle this effectively and in a timely manner. Instead, take the following steps to ensure that all updates will be made:
1. Take an inventory of all current templates in use. Are some of these templates used more frequently than others? Can any of them be retired if not in use? Ask for input from coders — what information is typically missing from the templates? Can you add or revise this information during the ICD-10 update? Work with your EHR vendor to make these changes before tackling ICD-10 updates.
2. Form a committee to address ICD-10 template updates. This committee, which can be a subcommittee of the ICD-10 implementation committee, should include coders, clinical documentation improvement (CDI) specialists, a physician champion, and an EHR representative. Compile a list of all diagnoses and procedures that require greater specificity in ICD-10 and cross-check this list with any templates that are in use. Ensure that each and every reference to these diagnoses and procedures is updated to accommodate ICD-10 specificity and other requirements.
3. Tie your template update efforts to your query update efforts. As CDI specialists review queries to ensure the implementation of updates for ICD-10, they can easily use this information to review templates in light of ICD-10 changes. If templates ultimately capture all of the relevant information that coders need, a query may not even be necessary.
4. Review templates after updates have been made. Set a deadline for all template updates to be completed. Then manually review each template to ensure that updates have been entered correctly.
5. Educate physicians. Physicians don’t need template-specific training; however, let physicians know that the updated templates exist when performing specialty-specific ICD-10 training. Reiterate that the templates exist to make physicians’ jobs easier by prompting them to document what’s necessary and pertinent to ICD-10 in the most concise way.
Clinical areas for review
Consider focusing on the following templates that require new and more specific documentation in ICD-10:
- Specific trimester: The majority of codes in Chapter 15 (Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Puerperium) feature a final character that indicates the trimester of the pregnancy. Assignment of this character is based on the provider’s documentation of the patient’s trimester during the admission/encounter. Templates should include the weeks of gestation at the time of admission and/or delivery.
- Fetus identification: ICD-10 requires a seventh character to denote multiple gestations, when applicable. This character identifies the fetus for which the complication code applies. Templates should provide an option for this character.
- Multiple gestation placenta status: ICD-10 features a combination code for multiple gestation and identification of the number of placentas and amniotic sacs. Templates should capture this information as well.
- Glascow coma scale: This scale denotes the degree of consciousness and is used commonly with head trauma cases. The score can function as an indicator for testing or treatment as well as predict the duration and outcome of the coma. Templates for head injuries should specifically include this information.
- Gustilo classification: This classification applies to open fractures of the long bones, including the humerus, radius, ulna, femur, tibia, and fibula. The classification system groups open fractures into three main categories and three subcategories defined by these characteristics: mechanism of injury, extent of soft tissue damage, and degree of bone injury or involvement. Templates for open fractures should include this information.
- Salter-Harris classification: This classification includes nine types of fractures that occur along the epiphyseal (growth) plates in bones that have not reached full maturity. With these types of fractures, plates are still open and filled with cartilaginous tissue. These fractures are common among children. Templates for these fractures should include information related to the Salter-Harris classification system.
- Severity: In addition to specific location and etiology of non-pressureskin ulcers, ICD-10 also requires physicians to document the severity of the ulcer as follows:
- Limited to breakdown of skin
- With fat layer exposed
- With necrosis of muscle
- With necrosis of bone
Any and all wound templates should include these designations. Pressure ulcer templates should continue to include the stage of the ulcer.
- Obesity: In addition to the current body mass index documentation on nutrition orders/templates for obesity, ICD-10 includes additional codes for obesity due to excess calories, drug-induced obesity, and morbid obesity with alveolar hypoventilation. Templates should be updated to include these designations.
About the Author
Cathie Wilde, RHIA, CCS, is the director of coding services for MRA. Ms. Wilde has been active in the healthcare industry for more than 30 years. Her previous positions have included assistant director of HIM, DRG coordinator at the Massachusetts Hospital Association, and DRG validator at Blue Cross Blue Shield. She has extensive experience in ICD-9-CM and CPT coding, auditing, data analysis, development and testing of coding products, specialized reporting, and in-service training. As director she is responsible for overseeing the coding division, providing the strategic direction of MRA as a local industry leader of quality coding, auditing, and denial management services. Ms. Wilde is an American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)-approved ICD-10-CM/PCS trainer.
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