Put Your ICD-10 Transition in Fast-Forward

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With the deadline for ICD-10 compliance now set for Oct. 1, 2014, it’s good to reflect back on why we as an industry are transitioning to ICD-10 in the first place. The greater specificity levels within clinical documentation will provide an improved understanding of health conditions and impact patient outcomes. ICD-10 will also provide more granular data for disease management worldwide and reduce additional documentation that is needed at the time of reimbursement. At the end of the day though, this change links directly back to patient care.

Because the ICD-10 deadline has been pushed back, some may think that they can devote time to other pressing projects. However, now is not the time to backburner efforts to streamline the transition to ICD-10. There are three main areas that healthcare provider organizations should be focused on over the next two years in order to ensure that this transition is a successful one.

Education and Training
The first step, according to a checklist developed by the American Health Information Management Association, is to educate the executive team on the reimbursement impact of ICD-10. It is critical to have strong leadership that will support the initiative and facilitate the creation of the necessary committees needed to tackle this transition head on.

Evaluating tools that are available to assist with this transition can be monumental in ensuring accuracy, productivity and reimbursement levels remain at an appropriate level. The coding complexity is going from seventeen thousand diagnostic and procedure codes to over one hundred fifty five thousand. The advent of computer assisted coding with clinical language understanding as the backbone will provide a true advantage.

While 2014 may seem a long way off today, it’s actually not when you consider the complexity and planning needed to make the ICD-10 transition seamless. When it comes to tackling ICD-10, it’s best to live by this motto:

“A wise person does at once, what a fool does at last. Both do the same thing; only at different times.” — Lord Acton, British Historian

Source: www.beckershospitalreview.com; Patricia Trumm; October 8, 2012.

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