This installment of the ICD-10 implementation blog series will take a look how providers can start preparing to ensure they’re ready for the switch on October 1, 2015.
Most providers around the country do not have a formal plan for transition and instead rely entirely on their staff or their EHRs to handle the transition to ICD-10. Neither of these are good ideas. Because the ICD-10 code set is much larger and more complex than the ICD-9 coding set, it will introduce thousands of new codes. These codes will often times be longer because ICD-10 uses combination codes to classify such things as multiple diagnoses or a diagnosis with a complication. In order to understand the additional specificity of the ICD-10 codes, providers and their coders will need to understand how to effectively search for and select the proper code.
How can you do this? We advise providers to develop an implementation strategy that includes an assessment of the impact on your organization. Start by determining timelines and budget. Try to schedule time every month to work on it with your staff. Staff includes anyone in your organization who collects, produces, uses, or reports diagnosis codes.
Next, identify the systems and applications in your organization that will be affected. This will be any piece of software that uses ICD-9 codes. Start by tracking a patient’s encounter with the staff and examine every step from the scheduling to examination to billing. Find out what ICD-10 codes will be needed. This way, you’ll become familiar with the new codes when they’ll be used. Also, begin learning the codes relevant to your specialty and make a list of other codes you regularly use.
In addition to preparing internally, ask your payers and vendors about their ICD-10 readiness timelines. This will help you set up a thorough ICD-10 assessment you can build on in the months leading up to implementation.
Stay tuned to the ICD-10 Implementation Is Less Than A Year Away: What You Need To Be Ready series as we look at other components of ICD-10 preparation.