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5 quick tips for ICD-10 compliance

Suggestions for using the extra year wisely

Even though the deadline for ICD-10 implementation is just a year away, many healthcare entities report not being ready.

The freshest evidence: A survey released in September 2014 by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), revealed that less than 11 percent of healthcare organizations are fully ready for the transition – a statistic that is not surprising to anyone paying attention to ICD-10. But what’s a bit disconcerting is the 72 percent who indicated they are in various states of readiness, including those who have yet to even start.

The struggles with implementation have been blamed on a number of factors, including budgeting, education and training, extra costs and the need to upgrade or install IT systems better equipped to handle the new coding.

But there are measures that healthcare organizations not ready for ICD-10 can take now to ease the transition:

  1. Appoint a project manager: Having a single point person to oversee all aspects of the transition and implementation can ease the process. Ideally, this person should be different than the one in charge of EHR implementation since both projects are complex and time-consuming.
  2. Engage non-IT leaders and staff: ICD-10 implementation will impact almost every department within a practice. With that in mind, physicians and others need to be onboard and non-IT leadership needs to play a role in planning, analyzing needs and working with staff to ease the transition.
  3. Evaluate technological needs immediately: Take the time to understand vendor plans for upgrading and find out when to expect software updates. If the system is in-house, evaluate what is required and the costs associated. Once software or hardware is upgraded, test and verify compliance.
  4. Create an implementation calendar: Breaking up all the required tasks and steps for complying can make the process flow more smoothly.
  5. Use the extra time wisely: The deadline for compliance has been bumped back an entire year. That gives healthcare organizations plenty of time to start using ICD-10 by dual-coding cases using both ICD-9 and ICD-10. This can ensure the switchover is as smooth as possible once the Oct. 1, 2015 deadline comes. 

Ron Vatalaro is a content marketing strategist at Bisk Education with the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine.