How to get ICD-10 Coding Training for Physicians

ICD-10 Coding Training for Physicians

Medical coding is essential to keep updated and accurate patient records. This is helpful for healthcare providers and insurance companies alike.

For this, most hospitals rely on the WHO’s International Classification for Diseases (ICD) system.

This is a coding system that allows and classifies every diagnosis, symptom, and treatment procedure with a specific code. This replaced the ICD-9 code sets previously used.

By undergoing training in ICD coding, physicians can expand their career scope and seek entry into the administrative end of a healthcare facility easily.

What is ICD-10 Coding

ICD-10-CM codes range from 3 to 7 characters. Usually, the first 3 characters are used to create main code categories, such as for injuries and diseases.

Later on, the code can be expanded to correspond more accurately with the specific diagnosis details.

What is ICD 10 Coding

What is ICD-10 Coding

The coding structure used by ICD-10 is made of:

  • Diagnostic category – The first to third characters in the ICD-10 code set define specific categories. The first character of the code is always an alphabet, while the second character is a numeral. The third character in the code is also alphanumeric, allowing for a greater array of classifications. A decimal follows the first three characters in ICD-10-CM codes. These categories help to distinguish majors and different diagnoses, such as nervous system problems or orthopedic issues.
  • Anatomical Site, Etiology, Severity – The fourth to the sixth character in ICD-10 coding provides details of diagnosis. This can involve an anatomic site, cause, and other clinical details which are essential for diagnosis. For instance, these codes can disclose any action that happened while sustaining the injury.
  • Extension—The seventh character in the ICD-10 coding system is used as an extension to provide additional information on the encounter or condition, and its application varies by section. This code provides information about the fetus, injuries, poisoning, and other incidences. This is helpful in cases where follow-up visits are required.

Highlights of ICD-10 Code

Let’s check some of the highlighting features of the ICD-10 coding system:

  • ICD-10 is a detailed diagnostic coding system with approximately 69,000 codes developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) for use globally.
  • The greater details preserved by the ICD-10 coding system help to improve patient care, reporting, analytics and tracking public health problems more efficiently.
  • The majority of administrative and clinical processes in the healthcare industry depend on the ICD-10 coding system.
  • Depending on their certification, professionals certified by the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC) may be required to demonstrate proficiency in ICD-10-CM.

What are the steps to acquire ICD-10 Coding Training for Physicians

To maintain your AAPC certification, you will need to get a passing score on the ICD-10 CM Proficiency Assessment exam. Besides, if you have AHIMA certification, you must earn ICD-10 CM certification through continued education.

The number of CEUs awarded from this training depends on the specific credentialing organization’s requirements. You can earn CEUs either through employer-sponsored or through independent training programs.

If you are looking to undergo the most efficient ICD-10 coding training for physicians, you need to follow these steps:

Step 1 – Find the right ICD-10 coding training program

The AAPC, AHIMA and several other organizations offer training for the ICD-10 CM Proficiency Assessment exam.

AAPC’s training modules cover ICD-10-CM guidelines and include coding exercises for practice and proficiency enhancement.

The four main stages of ICD-10 coding training for physicians within the AHIMA online classes are:

  1. Readiness, Awareness, Assessments and Foundation training program
  2. ICD-10-CM Coding Course Collection – This involves 22 one-hour courses on specific ICD-CM chapters.
  3. ICD-10-PCS Coding Course Collection includes an overview and courses on specific root operations, groupings, and procedures for in-depth learning.
  4. ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS Practice Exercises – Offers several four-hour training modules for coding experience with extensive case scenarios for inpatient and outpatient coders.

Step 2 – Register for the ICD-10 Proficiency Assessment exam

The next step is to sign up for the ICD-10 Proficiency Assessment exam.

This exam gauges your understanding of the ICD-10-CM structure and format, the categories, groupings of codes, coding concepts and official guidelines.

You can choose to take a timed exam or a self-paced test for this certification.

Step 3 – Enroll in Advanced Training

Several advanced ICD-10 training courses are available for physicians. These courses are designed for those who wish to develop their coding knowledge extensively.

For this, you can enroll in any of the below AAPC-backed courses:

  • Advanced A&P for ICD-10 – This course covers physiology and anatomy relating to chronic conditions. This helps to find the correct table for building an ICD-10-PCS code.
  • ICD-10-CM for HCC—This interactive online course explains why changes depend on quantity-based payments and teaches how chronic conditions can increase healthcare expenses.
  • Advanced Code Set Testing – This course teaches clinical concepts used in common health conditions and assigns codes.


ICD-10 coding training for physicians is extremely beneficial. It is an excellent way to enhance one’s knowledge, skill set, and proficiency in the healthcare industry.

Those healthcare practitioners who wish to enter the administrative end of hospitals should seek ICD-10 coding training for physicians.

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Current Version
February 28, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 25, 2024
Updated By
Asher Ashfaq, OMPT, PT, CPC, CMP

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