Certified Coders in High Demand After ICD-10 Implementation
(BPT) - Nine years ago, Peter Esswein, a resident of Sandy Springs, Georgia, enrolled in a health information technology degree program at DeVry University to capitalize on the growing prominence of electronic medical records.
"I always wanted to work in the medical industry, and the time was right for a personal career change," Esswein says. "Completing my associate degree in health information technology gave me the confidence and skills I needed to progress on my new career path.''
Now, as Esswein continues his career as a coding quality assistant, health care is changing again. Following the release of a medical coding system overhaul in October 2015, expected updates in the near future are underscoring the demand for coders. International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision, or ICD-10, increased the number of medical codes by more than 50,000 - and in fiscal year 2017, about 5,500 more diagnostic and impatient procedure codes will roll out.
"The new codes are designed to enable more informative, accurate recording of the medical information required to bill correctly for reimbursement," Esswein says. "In my role, it's essential that I not only understand ICD-10, but that I'm staying ahead of what's coming next to help alleviate any confusion in my workplace and mitigate mistakes in advance.''
Prepping for industry change
Many health care organizations say transitioning to the new system was their biggest challenge last year. While Esswein graduated years ago and is getting on-the-job training with the new system, many employers struggled to find qualified new technicians, since recent graduates had studied the previous classification system, ICD-9.
To get these new grads up to speed, DeVry University offered an ICD-10 course at no cost for medical billing and coding graduates who had registered by November 2015 and students in their last semester of the program. All future courses will be taught using ICD-10 as the standard.
"DeVry University programs will continue to evolve as healthcare advances and becomes more accessible in the United States," says Kristyn Murphy-Rodvill, assistant national dean in the College of Health Sciences at DeVry University. "We know finishing a degree program during an industry transition can create obstacles for recent grads. Our ICD-10 course is designed to eliminate those barriers and prepare students with the skills and knowledge they need to be competitive in their field."
Propelling the future of health care
Knowledgeable health information technology experts - from coders to technicians and managers - are projected to remain in high demand through 2022. Medical billing is projected to grow by 22 percent in this time period.
"With the right education, the future is bright for healthcare professionals," says Murphy-Rodvill. "DeVry's programs are designed to help students grow their professional expertise, and remain at the forefront in their industry.''
(BPT) - With nearly 8 million Americans still unemployed, it may be difficult to imagine a labor shortage is on the horizon. Yet many labor experts predict the health care industry is headed in that direction — and older adults may be one of the groups that will suffer the most if a shortage does occur as forecasted.
“The potential lack of nurses in assisted living communities is particularly concerning,” says Kim Estes, senior vice president of clinical services for Brookdale Senior Living.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2022, American health care facilities will need 1 million more nurses than there will be nurses practicing. At the same time, people 65 and older will account for 16 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureaus. With 85 percent of seniors having at least one chronic medical condition, and more than two-thirds having at least two, seniors are the age group most in need of care.
Any labor shortage, however, can have a silver lining for those who are willing to train for the understaffed market and pursue available jobs where the need is greatest.
“The nursing shortage, aging population and rising incidence of chronic conditions are creating a perfect storm of opportunity for nurses who want to go into caring for those in assisted living,” Estes says. “Many nurses don’t think about going into senior living as a career path because it’s not a typical hospital or doctor’s office position, but it can be very rewarding. Rather than treating a patient and moving onto another patient, assisted living gives nurses the opportunity to build long-lasting relationships and enrich the lives of residents and their families.”
Brookdale’s assisted living communities hire nurses as health and wellness directors. They oversee all clinical services within a community including managing care associates, setting standards, and leading health and wellness programming. Rather than providing daily hands-on care, these nurses shape the overall quality and content of care their community’s seniors receive on a daily basis. The work offers opportunity to advance to higher-level leadership positions at the district, regional and corporate level which pay significantly more than a typical hospital or physician’s office job.
Some healthcare providers are taking action to combat the looming nursing shortage, offering support, training and assistance to people interested in entering the profession. For example, Brookdale is launching a student loan reimbursement program hoping to attract more nurses to work in assisted living.
“Whether you’re already working as a nurse, or are considering a career in nursing, working in a senior living community can be professionally, personally and financially rewarding,” Estes says. To learn more about job opportunities at Brookdale Senior Living, visit www.brookdalecareers.com.
(BPT) - People are more connected now than ever before thanks to the globalization of technology, international travel, commerce and industry. But this interconnectedness also means that health concerns, which were once limited to a community, can have a global impact. The Zika virus, the outbreak recently declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO), is the latest example of a foreign health issue that quickly raised concern within our borders.
Nurses are using the technology that connects us to prepare for this new reality. Through virtual simulation education, they are learning to care for diverse populations and practicing global health scenarios including epidemics, rare illnesses and other infectious diseases.
"Globalization has changed our approach to health care. Viral diseases can spread rapidly, so we have to be ready," says Dee McGonigle, professor in Chamberlain College of Nursing's Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program. "Virtual learning environments provide valuable, interactive education on best practices for patient safety and disease containment in a real-time scenario that mimics real life."
Dr. McGonigle heads up the college's 3-D Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). During the Ebola outbreak in 2014, she and several colleagues built the Virtual Ebola Treatment Center (VETC) in Second Life, a virtual world created by its global community of users. In Second Life, users - known as residents - are represented by avatars that can walk, run, sit, stand, fly and interact with other residents.
Chamberlain students learned how to admit and care for Ebola patients by practicing scenarios in the VETC within Second Life. Faculty from the MSN Informatics specialty track facilitated and mentored students through the risk-free virtual learning experience.
Like the Zika virus, the Ebola crisis was a wake-up call that proved how quickly disease can spread and how important it is to be prepared. Seemingly overnight, health care professionals and students nationwide were tasked with developing expertise on a disease that was previously of little concern to U.S. citizens.
"Nurses around the world were looking for answers," says Dr. McGonigle. "We knew we had the opportunity to build a critical training tool to prepare our students to treat Ebola patients."
Chamberlain alumna Kellany Cadogan-Noland, now a clinical learning lab specialist at Chamberlain, utilized Second Life for her MSN Informatics Specialty Track nursing project. Second Life nursing projects are designed to help those who cannot complete them in a real-world situation because of geographic or other limitations.
Cadogan-Noland used the VETC to test potential responses to an Ebola outbreak in the United States. She collaborated with mentors around the country to determine which infrastructures and clinical processes - such as clinical dressing locations for hospital staff - were most effective at disease containment. Within weeks of completing her project, the West African outbreak had spread to the United States. Cadogan-Noland and her team adjusted their VETC strategy to implement and test containment plans as they were announced by the WHO.
"I benefitted more from Second Life than I would have through an onsite project because we could adapt the virtual environment to our learning needs so quickly," Cadogan-Noland says. "I was able to quickly test scenarios through simulations. We couldn't have accomplished this within such a short timeframe in a brick and mortar facility."
Chamberlain faculty and students can easily adapt their model of virtual simulation education to address other emerging global health issues like the Zika virus, giving nurses like Cadogan-Noland an extraordinary window to the rest of the world. Dr. McGonigle and other Chamberlain leaders behind the VETC are planning more interprofessional collaboration in the future to explore new innovative applications of the virtual learning experience for their students.
"The quality of virtual learning is continually evolving with enhanced technology and feedback from putting simulation methods into practice," says Dr. McGonigle. "We have so much more to discover with virtual learning. We are just getting started as we use it this to educate nurses who will go on to transform health care worldwide."
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