Health Information Management

Lies, darn lies, and survey results

HIM-HIPAA Insider, June 1, 2015

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We love surveys, especially about ICD-10. Seriously, how many ICD-10 surveys have you been asked to fill out in the past year alone?

It’s very easy to look at survey results and think things look really good or really bad, depending on the survey and what you want to see.

Take the NueMD 2015 Attitudes Towards ICD-10 survey, for example. When I first saw the results, I freaked out a little. How could 25% of the 1,000 respondents not be familiar with the ICD-10 coding standards? Even worse, how could 15% not be familiar with the proposed timeline for implementation?

When you look at who took the survey, things become somewhat clearer (and slightly less alarming). NeuMD surveyed small and medium-sized physician practices, but they didn’t just ask the physicians and coders.

Of the 1,000 respondents, 43% were clinicians, 16% were office managers, and another 13% were administrators. Billers, both in-house and contracted, made up 15% of the respondents. Eight percent identified themselves as “other.” Coders are not specifically identified, so they are probably part of that category.

It makes sense that the non-clinicians would not be familiar with ICD-10 coding standards. They don’t need to know them. What percentage of clinicians are familiar with the coding standards or, more importantly, the documentation requirements? We don’t know. The survey results don’t tell us.

When you see survey results, think critically about them, just like you would any documentation that you see. What do the results really mean? Whose views are reflected in the results? Are the results relevant to you?

Survey results can be a good way to evaluate where you are or how you compare to others. Just make sure you’re making meaningful comparisons.

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

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