Health Information Management

Things to consider as you move forward with ICD-10 plans

HIM-HIPAA Insider, April 14, 2014

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We know we’re facing at least a one-year delay in ICD-10 implementation. What you with that time will directly affect how prepared you are for the eventual ICD-10 implementation.

Here are some things to consider:

Coder training: How far along are you? Are all of your coders trained? Are they in the process of being trained? How are you going to keep their skills sharp until they actually start coding in ICD-10? If you are currently dual coding, will you continue to do so? You can use this extra time to add to coders’ clinical knowledge and comfort level with ICD-10.

Documentation: Here’s where you can really use the delay to your advantage. Start updating your EHR and query forms now. You have more time to make changes and get physicians used to the changes. Not sure where your physician documentation is falling short? You have more time to pinpoint the biggest problem areas, but you need to take advantage of the extra time.

Leadership buy-in (and, of course, money): Did you have trouble getting your CFO on board with spending lots of money to revamp everything for ICD-10? He or she is probably not very happy right now. Don’t let the leadership slack off on ICD-10 implementation plans. Emphasize the benefits of ICD-10 and why being ahead of the curve will help in the long run. (Think fewer queries, less productivity decline, even more appropriate reimbursement because you can better support medical necessity because physicians are documenting better.)

Physician engagement: This is probably one of the biggest hurdles to ICD-10 implementation. A lot of organizations struggled to get physicians engaged in learning documentation requirements for ICD-10 before this latest delay. I think the problem is only going to get worse. Physicians will drag their heels and say, “why should I learn this? It’s never going to be implemented.” Before you talk with your physicians, make sure you have answers ready. Explain why ICD-10 is better (more specificity, better clinical picture of the patient, use of physician terminology—think asthma descriptions). Tell them how it will help their ratings and improve patient care. Stress that we don’t want them to code, we just want them to completely and accurately document their patients’ conditions and the procedures they performed.

We have two choices when it comes to this delay: put our ICD-10 preparations on hold (not really a good plan) or find ways to use the extra time to our advantage.

This article originally appeared on HCPro’s ICD-10 Trainer blog.


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